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Banks hosts event covering eradication of garlic mustard

Weed watchers beware: spring is a critical month for the emergence of invasive species in Northwest Oregon, including garlic mustard.

During the spring months, these intruders can take advantage of ample sunlight, water, nutrients and space to establish themselves where they are not wanted. But upcoming Weed Watcher Workshops in Washington County can prepare you to help.

One is set for Tuesday, May 7 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Banks Fire Department, 13430 N.W. Main St. in Banks.

Garlic mustard has been trying to take up residence in Washington County during the last few years, but the Tualatin Soil and Water Conservation District wants you to help keep this invader from settling in for the long haul. This weed is of greatest concern in woodland areas, although it has been identified along road rights-of-way, trails, and streams. Whatever the location, it dominates the area by displacing native vegetation and reducing plant diversity.

Garlic mustard has a two-year lifecycle, which means that you may spot it in two forms. During the first year, garlic mustard appears to be about a foot tall with kidney-shaped scalloped leaves in a basal rosette (this is botany speak for leaves that form near the base of plant arranged like the petals of a rose).

During the second year, this invader takes on a more upright form, with the flower stalk elongated – all the better to spread its seed! When it has bolted in this manner, the plant can reach 4 feet in height.

The leaves will be sharply toothed and triangular in shape, arranged alternately on the stem. When you crush the leaves, they emit a strong garlic odor. If you catch this plant now, you will notice small white flowers with four petals through May.

To remove the culprit, hand pull the plant before it goes to seed in late May, being sure to remove entire root, or spray with an herbicide. All captured plants should be bagged and thrown in the garbage to prevent re-sprouting or reseeding. Avoid composting or disposing in green waste containers to prevent the spread of the hardy seeds. Mowing is contraindicated as it will help spread rather than eradicate the plant. Keep in mind that these tiny seeds love to cling to boots, pants, pets and vehicles, all of which should be well brushed after contact.

Working in partnership with local jurisdictions, Tualatin Hills Park and Recreation District, the Tualatin River Watershed Council and the Tualatin Soil and Water Conservation Districts, Clean Water Services, is treating plants as they occur within 100 feet of streams or water bodies in Washington County and some areas of unincorporated Multnomah County. If you live in Washington County, you can report garlic mustard sightings to their Invasive Species Coordinator by calling 503-615-3524.

For more information, contact Lacey Townsend of the Tualatin SWCD at  HYPERLINK "mailto:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it." \t "_blank" This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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