Conservationists want to kill off garlic mustard

Garlic mustard is threatening native plant species in Ontario woodlots and fence rows, even the mighty oak, and the Nature Conservancy of Canada recommends spraying it with Roundup and killing it.

Conservation groups usually want chemical pesticides banned, so what’s with the Nature Conservancy?

It’s not the only conservation group to suggest this, says the Conservancy’s science and stewardship co-ordinator Mhairi McFarlane, based in London, and garlic mustard is indeed that bad. Using Roundup “is the least damaging way to kill it off, believe or not,” she says.

Some attempts to remove garlic mustard may actually help spread it. For example, disturbing earth by uprooting it tends to bring seeds to the surface, where they germinate.   

Better Farming - February 2009