Weeds in My Yard


Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata)

When I first started to find out what was growing in my yard I noted that Garlic Mustard was growing in abundance. Since it is quite prolific I have had a chance to see it every year! Garlic Mustard releases a chemical into the soil called sinigrin that kills fungi that other plants need to grow. The fungi help the plants extract nutrients. Garlic Mustard not only displaces native plants but by removing the fungi it also weakens them.

Distinguishing Features: First year Garlic Mustard leaves have the same shape of some geranium leaves. Garlic Mustard has small rounded green leaves with scalloped edges and embossed veins. It gets its name by the garlic odor it produces when its leaves are crushed. During its first year, garlic mustard leaves are rounder, take on a rosette formation, and are closer to the ground. The second year, the leaves become more triangular, heart-shaped and grow up the flowering stem. The small white flowers appear in the spring.

Control of the plant: The best way to get rid of Garlic Mustard is to pull it up after a rain (to ensure the roots are pulled), bag it, and dispose of it.

An effective way of controlling the plant is by spraying the plant when it is small and when there is a great amount of it with a herbicide like Roundup or products containing the active ingredients glyphosate, or 2,4-D.

Garlic Mustard just getting started
Second Year Garlic Mustard leaves

  1. https://www.nature.org/en-us/about-us/wherewe-work/united-states/indiana/stories-inindiana/garlic-mustard/
  2. http://goodoak.com/info/weeds/index.html (Very good PDFs about all weeds.)

[Editor: for another point of view on leaving garlic mustard alone see https://www.northcountrypublicradio.