In 2015, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy is challenging itself and volunteers (link) to pull 2,189 pounds of the invasive plant, garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata), from the Trail corridor (one pound for every A.T. mile). In the south, we’ll need to pull garlic mustard in April, before it goes to seed. This event is to tackle a known infestation around Devils Creek Gap, north of Spivey Gap. The control work will be completed by hand-pulling as the plants are small and removed easily. The weeds will be bagged and weighed before proper disposal. Appropriate equipment for the day includes work gloves, boots or sturdy shoes, and suitable attire for variable spring weather plus lunch and water.
The goal of one pound per trail mile was almost achieved in a single day. Four large, heavy duty trash bags were filled with 129 pounds of blooming garlic mustard plants pulled from along the north-bound trail, at the USFS road crossing and a couple of side spurs, and along a nearby clearing edge. In addition, three smaller bags of aluminum cans for recycling and trash for disposal were hauled out. A steady stream of backpackers passed through this gap – with a few stopping to learn about invasive species. The club will need to return next year to continue breaking the biennial cycle for garlic mustard.