Is this tall plant a weed

Asked May 9, 2020, 12:52 PM EDT

Hello, This tall green plant with small white flowers is rapidly growing in my garden bed. Is it a weed that I should go ahead and remove? I do not remember planting it. Thank you.

Montgomery County Maryland

2 Responses

Hi - This is garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata), a very invasive non-native plant that alters soil chemistry and outcompetes native plants. It spreads very effectively by seeds and the seeds can remain viable in the soil for ~5-10 years. If you have had these plants in your area for awhile, it may take several years to get them under control because of the seed bank in the soil.


Pull out all that you see, or, for a large area, cut them down with a string trimmer prior to seed development and dispose of the plants in the trash. Limiting seed dispersal is key. On our website you will find details about garlic mustard and how to manage it, https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/garlic-mustard.
Refer to this fact sheet for more specific guidance on mechanical removal, https://www.invasive.org/weedcd/pdfs/wgw/garlicmustard.pdf

Also, here is our video about garlic mustard, https://youtu.be/WvJMab8b7PQ.

Christa

Thank you so much! Will dig it up today and dispose of it in a separate bag and clean my gloves and boots to prevent spreading any seeds. Will mulch the spot and keep my eye open for any further spreading. Fortunately (knock on wood) this is the only site in the garden bed where this has appeared.