Sunday, May 06, 2012

Botanist Janet Marr to give presentations on garlic mustard at Portage, Calumet libraries

Garlic mustard, an invasive species, has small, white, four-petaled flowers like these. (Photo by Chris Evans)

HOUGHTON -- The Portage Lake District Library and the Calumet Public Library will host a presentation on a particularly nasty invasive plant that is creeping its way into the Copper Country.

Botanist Janet Marr will present "Green Invader: Garlic Mustard in the Copper Country" from 6:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 9, at the Portage Library and from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 16, at the Calumet Library.

During her session of pulling garlic mustard from a property in Hancock last Saturday, May 5, botanist Janet Marr, right, explains to Hancock residents Carol Grafford, left, and Susan Mills why it is important to pull the plant before the seeds can spread. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

Garlic mustard is a non-native, extremely invasive plant that has just begun to show up in the Copper Country. It has been found in six Calumet-Laurium locations and eight other sites in Houghton County, mostly in the Houghton-Hancock area. It is not currently known to be in Keweenaw or Baraga Counties.

Janet Marr points out the identifying features of a garlic mustard plant and explains it must be pulled out down to the roots, like this one. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

Once garlic mustard comes into an area it can cause huge problems when it invades forest floors, replacing native shrubs, tree seedlings, and wildflowers and also adversely affecting wildlife and insects. Out-of-control garlic mustard affects everyone who spends time outdoors -- from hikers to loggers, property owners and land managers.

Chris Vandomelen of Hancock helps Botanist Janet Marr pull garlic mustard at a property in Hancock on May 5, 2012. The pulled plants are put in several layers of plastic bags to prevent seeds from escaping before disposal. The seeds can live about 12 years. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

Marr will show a 12-minute film titled Stemming the Tide: Garlic Mustard ID and Control. She will explain how to get rid of garlic mustard as well as discuss what not to do with the plants. Marr will also have live garlic mustard plants for people to look at plus various brochures about invasive species including garlic mustard. She will also talk about a short field trip to a garlic mustard site in Laurium.

Second-year leaves of the invasive garlic mustard are heart-shaped to triangular, 1-3 inches wide, coarsely toothed on the edges. They give off a garlic odor when crushed. (Photo by Steven Katovich, U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service)

The best time to find and report garlic mustard is when it’s relatively sparse in our area and eradication is still possible. Please report any suspected garlic mustard plants in Houghton, Keweenaw, and Baraga counties to Janet Marr at 906-337-5529 or jkmarr@mtu.edu or call the Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District at 906-482-0214. People may also contact Marr about RRIP-IT-UP, the Rapid Response Invasive Plant Intervention Team of the Upper Peninsula.

Eradicate Garlic Mustard in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is a new UP-wide garlic mustard eradication program that is funded by a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, which includes funding from the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

Library programs are free and everyone is welcome. For more information, call the Portage Lake District Library at (906) 482-4570 or visit www.pldl.org. The Calumet Library presentation is sponsored by Friends of the Calumet Public Library. Call (906) 337-0311 ext.1107 for more information.

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