Support Spring Ephemerals by Pulling Garlic Mustard

Spring is upon us! Some of the first plants to emerge are woodland wildflowers known as spring ephemerals. These short lived gems take advantage of the spring sunlight by completing their life cycles before the forest canopy leafs out for the season. In addition to their beauty, spring ephemerals provide critical resources for pollinators as they emerge in the early spring. Common ephemerals include Hepatica, Trout Lily, Bloodroot, and Trilliums. 

Among the first plants to green up in spring, garlic mustard outcompetes native spring ephemeral wildflowers, diminishing early season resources for pollinators and degrading forest health. Garlic mustard has a two year (or biennial) life cycle, producing a short basal rosette without flowers in the first year and a tall "bolting" stalk in the second year. It's important to pull these weeds before they produce seed in the second year. Treat garlic mustard by pulling the whole plant and the roots by hand. If you pull garlic mustard before it flowers, leave the material on the ground to decompose. If you pull it after flowering or seed production, bag it and dispose of it properly so that no seeds are spread.

Learn tricks to help identify and treat garlic mustard from the MN Dept of Ag and Friends of the Mississippi River. Help us protect the beautiful and diverse forests of Anoka County by pulling garlic mustard! For more information contact Logan Olson, Restoration Technician, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Invasive Knotweed

Knotweed is a species of increasing concern with several new populations across Anoka County. Knotweeds are herbaceous shrubs characterized by a sturdy, bamboo-like stalk which can grow to over 10 feet in a single season. They grow aggressively, especially along riparian areas where they outcompete native vegetation and create bare ground which enhances erosion damage. Knotweed can also grow through sidewalks and concrete foundations, damaging infrastructure.

There are three species of knotweed in MN: Giant, Japanese, and Bohemian which is a hybrid of the first two. All three Knotweed species are on the state noxious weed list as Prohibited Control species. Efforts must be made to stop their spread and propagation. Late August into September is the easiest time to spot Knotweed infestations due to their showy white flowers. You can help keep this species under control by entering sightings into EDDMaps or reporting them to ACD staff.

See links for Giant, Japanese, and Bohemian knotweed ID and knotweed management guidance from the MDA. 

Photos From MDA

For more information contact Logan Olson, Restoration Technician, at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

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Anoka CWMA works to control invasive species in Anoka County

BWSR awarded ACD $15,000 for the third phase of the Anoka Cooperative Weed Management Area. The Anoka CWMA formed in 2018 and consists of Anoka Conservation District, Anoka Parks, Cities, Watershed Districts, MN Department of Agriculture, and volunteers to coordinate invasive species control efforts in Anoka County. Anoka CWMA activities include mapping, monitoring, outreach, treatment on select populations, and provides some cost share assistance. 

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Understanding the Minnesota Noxious Weed List

Minnesota's Noxious Weed Law is the policy of the legislature that residents of the state be protected from the injurious effects that noxious weeds have on public health, environment, public roads, crops, livestock, and other property. A noxious weed is a regulated plant species that has been designated as one of the four categories; Prohibited Eradicate, Prohibited Control, Restricted, and Specially Regulated.

The Prohibited Eradicate category include species that are highly damaging with limited distribution. These species are listed with the goal of eradication. Some examples found in Minnesota include Black Swallow-wort, Oriental Bittersweet, and the Tree of Heaven.

The Prohibited Control category include species that are highly damaging and widely distributed. The goal for species in this category is to prevent spreading. Examples in Minnesota include Wild Parsnip, Common Tansy, and Japanese Knotweed.

The Restricted Category include species that are highly damaging with an extensive distribution that limits the ability to control populations. The goal for these species is to prevent new plantings. Examples in Minnesota include Common Buckthorn, Non-Native Honeysuckle, and Garlic Mustard.

Specially Regulated plants may be native, non-native, or demonstrated value. The goal for this category of plants is to craft regulations that prevent issues. Examples in Minnesota include Poison Ivy, Amur Maple, and Winged Burning Bush.

Species on this list and new potential treats are reviewed by the Noxious Weed Advisory Committee. This committee is comprised of members that represent conservation, business, tribes, and government interests. A thorough risk assessment is completed for a species before a listing recommendation is made by the committee. You can report a potential population of a species on the Minnesota Noxious Weed List by taking a picture of both the leaves and flowers, taking note of the location, and sending it to the Arrest the Pest email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by filing out the online reporting form on the website https://mdaonbase.mda.state.mn.us/AppNetUF/UnityForm.aspx?key=UFKey.

Below is a list of species to keep a look out for. Some of these species are already listed as Prohibited Eradicate in Minnesota and have very limited distribution. Looking for these species can prevent new populations from invading the state. Other species on the list have not yet been found in Minnesota, but have caused substantial damage in other parts of the country. Early detection and eradication is crucial in protecting Minnesota against invasive species. 

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It's Garlic Mustard Season!

Now is a great time of year to check your property for Garlic Mustard. Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolatais) is an invasive species originally from Europe and Asia and typically establishes in the understory of forests and in fields. Garlic Mustard can spread quickly in the wind and can soon start to outcompete native species by emerging earlier, blocking sunlight, and using the limited moisture and nutrients in the ecosystem. Garlic Mustard also releases chemicals into the soil via its roots that alters the important underground network of fungi that connect nutrients between native plants.

During its first year, garlic mustard leaves are rounder and take on a rosette formation at ground level. In their second year, the leaves grow up a flowering stem and become more triangular and heart-shaped with toothed edges. Small white four-petaled flowers emerge in the spring. Hand pulling is an easy way to control small populations of Garlic Mustard and is best done in the spring before they go to seed. These plants can then be placed in a plastic bag and thrown out with the garbage and should not be composted.

Any effort to remove Garlic Mustard from your property might seem daunting, but over time, you will hopefully see native plants start to repopulate the areas you have removed Garlic Mustard.


Learn more about Garlic Mustard here:

Garlic mustard distribution on EDDMaps

Garlic mustard fact sheet

MDA garlic mustard website

MDA garlic mustard life cycle and treatment info sheet

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