Garden Q&A: Root out garlic mustard and controlling animals in your garden
By Ellen Nibali
May 14, 2020 | 7:00 AM
Having plenty of time to concentrate on my yard, I was shocked to find this big clump of plants in a shady area where we dump leaves in the fall and generally ignore it. Maybe small plants were there last year but nothing like this. Friend or foe?
It’s good that you’ve had the chance to catch this early. Garlic mustard takes over landscapes, plus parks and natural areas. As a non-native invasive, garlic mustard has consumed thousands of acres, smothering native plants that wildlife need.
Garlic mustard is a biennial plant that grows only a few scalloped low leaves the first year. This second year, they bloom and soon produce many long seed capsules that explode to spread seeds.
Wait for nice moist soil after rain, then pull the tap root out easily. You can eliminate this whole patch in fifteen minutes or less. Pull before seed pods ripen and bag them. Some unsprouted seeds are probably still in the soil, so keep an eye on that spot and pull them as they pop up over the next few years.
Our enforced time at home is a great opportunity to tackle all invasive plant problems, such as vines killing your trees. Not only is it extremely satisfying, but it’s good exercise. And repetitive tasks are proven to be calming. If you’re not sure what you’re encountering, send us photos or search the Home and Garden Information Center website.
Can you please recommend instructions and supplies for installing barriers for animals and birds? This is the biggest issue for me starting a veggie garden
Rabbits, groundhogs and deer are the big three wreaking havoc in vegetable gardens. Search ‘vegetable wildlife problems’ on the our website for control tactics for these and more, or search by individual animal.
Our YouTube videos give multiple fencing options. To stop rabbit and groundhog digging, the bottom of fencing needs to be buried. Groundhogs can climb fencing, too. So, you’ll want to have some idea of what animal needs excluding before you settle on tactics.
It’s likely that deer will be your main concern, as their numbers are soaring. They can jump 6-8 feet, but lower fencing of a confined space stymies them because they need to see where they can land safely. A foot injury means life or death to them. Lower fencing with single wire strands above is another way to gain height without a tall fence.
University of Maryland Extension’s Home and Garden Information Center offers free gardening and pest information at extension.umd.edu/hgic. Click “Ask Maryland’s Gardening Experts” to send questions and photos.