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                                                                                                                                                   Invasive Species in Thickson's Woods

Garlic Mustard

When the first garlic mustard plants appeared in Thickson’s Woods back in the 1970s, local botanist, naturalist and artist George Scott was very excited. George knew every plant and bird in Thickson’s woods, and finding something new was greeted with enthusiasm. Thus it was that, for a number of years, garlic mustard was welcomed. Only when it became obvious how aggressive it was, outcompeting native wildflowers by remaining green all winter, and producing thousands of seeds growing into dense smothering stands, was the alarm sounded. Later we learned that this invader also uses chemical warfare, weakening the ability of native trees and shrubs to survive. Since then we’ve dug up millions of year-old plants and destroyed millions more newly emerged seedlings. Many former patches have been irradicated, but some persist, and there are always undiscovered plants appearing in secret areas, the tiny seeds carried there on the muddy feet of rabbits and raccoons.