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Battling Invasives: A Successful Garlic Mustard Pull Event

On Saturday, June 1st, 2024, Sustainable Stillwater MN held an impromptu but impactful event to combat the spread of invasive garlic mustard near St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Stillwater, Minnesota. The event, led by Ruth Alliband, Rain Garden Workgroup Leader, and Meghan Lavelle, Protect Our Waters Workgroup Leader, drew a small yet dedicated group of volunteers, including four adults and four enthusiastic children.

Meghan, Ruth, and young volunteer
Meghan, Ruth, and young volunteer

Despite the short notice, Meghan managed to rally a group comprising her family, friends, a neighbor, and her husband. The young volunteers were particularly energetic and eager to learn, turning the event into both a community effort and an educational experience. Many of them learned to identify garlic mustard, a plant that poses a significant threat to local ecosystems.

Why Garlic Mustard is a Problem

Garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) is a non-native species that was likely introduced to the United States in the 1800s for food and medicinal purposes. Its ability to form dense mats allows it to outcompete native plant species, impeding forest regeneration by releasing chemicals that inhibit the growth of other plants and beneficial fungi. This makes it a formidable invasive species that requires vigilant control efforts.

Five Bags of Garlic Mustard
Five Bags of Garlic Mustard

The Day’s Accomplishments

The volunteers worked diligently at the intersection of Oak St W and 5th St S, near the rain gardens on the north slope of St. Mary's Catholic Church. By the end of the event, they had filled five large garbage bags with pulled garlic mustard plants. As per guidelines from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, these plants need to be disposed of in the garbage to prevent further spread, not in yard waste.

Ruth emphasized the importance of preventing garlic mustard from infiltrating rain gardens, a growing concern given the increasing sightings around the neighborhood. The hands-on experience provided valuable lessons for both children and adults on the identification and proper disposal of this invasive species.

Pulled Garlic Mustard

Continuing the Fight Against Invasive Species

This event underscores the importance of community involvement in managing invasive species. Sustainable Stillwater MN continues to play a crucial role in educating the public and organizing efforts to protect the local environment. For those interested in learning more about garlic mustard and how to help, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources provides extensive resources on identification, control, and prevention.

For more information on garlic mustard and how you can help, visit the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.


By coming together, even in small groups, we can make a significant impact on preserving our local ecosystems. Sustainable Stillwater MN's garlic mustard pull is a testament to the power of community action in protecting our natural environment. Let's continue to stay informed and get involved in future events to keep our surroundings healthy and vibrant.

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