The question of the day for all you garlic mustard pullers out there is this: Are you using all the tools and best management practices that you know of to battle the pest species?
Of course you are, but what if I told you of a promising new control strategy? Would you give it a try? Maybe some of you have seen it employed by private citizens on public land? Perhaps it’s just an urban legend but today I first learned of this new control strategy called the “Queen Plant approach”. It works like this: for every garlic mustard population there is a Queen Plant (similar to the Queen Bee of a bee hive). If only you can find and kill the Queen Plant (or the Queen Bee), the rest of the population (or colony) dies.
You have probably seen this technique used many times and, like me, just not recognized it for what it is. You know, you’ve seen those little piles of two or three freshly pulled garlic mustard plants left by the side of the bike trail, (like those pictured below.)
Like me, you may have surmised that someone came along to try to pull the entire population but just ran out of time or steam, and would come back later to complete the task. But no, according to my morning warbler walk leader, this is the little known and little used “Queen Garlic Mustard control strategy. But, it only works if you find the real Queen plant. But the Queen plant is hard to identify and sometimes, he said, with tongue firmly planted in his cheek, you have to pull the entire population to make sure you get the Queen plant.
Let me know how it works and remember I am just kidding.