Urgent measures needed to combat an invasive species that destroys forest flora plant life

To the Editor:

For information and reference regarding the invasive garlic mustard – the photos below are from Geddes Park in Kincardine.  The forest has 70-90% floor coverage of garlic mustard.

It has overtaken all of the spring flowers:  trilliums, trout lilies, forget-me-nots, violets, ferns and others.  The photos clearly demonstrate that this can easily happen in our town (Saugeen Shores) if action isn’t taken to remove garlic mustard from our beautiful forest trails.

May 10th article in Saugeen Times:  “Think this is a pretty plant?  Think again.  It is an invasive species that the Nature Conservancy of Canada is trying to stop.  It is known as ‘garlic mustard’ and has made Saugeen Shores home.  Garlic Mustard is one of Ontario’s most aggressive forest invaders, and threatens biodiversity.  Each plant can drop hundreds to thousands of seeds spread mainly by humans and pets.  Within 5-7 years, garlic mustard can enter, establish itself, and become the dominant plant in the forest floor.  This is achieved by dispersing toxic chemicals within the soil that prevent the growth of other plants and grasses.”

Two years ago, Rosa Pyette and Michele Hunter decided they would try to stop the spread and get community involvement with this project.  Frank Burrows from Saugeen Shores town staff helped by supplying bags and a drop off point for the numerous bags.  Frank suggested we concentrate our efforts to protect our forested areas mainly, which has directed us to try to stop the spread along the Shipley Trail, Beiners Bush and the Woodland Trail.

We have developed a facebook page called “The Garlic Mustard Challenge of Saugeen Shores”.  Pulls will continue for the month of May, Wednesdays from 2-4:00 and Saturdays 1-3:00-locations announced on the facebook page prior to the pull.

Bud & Jenny, Rosa & Rod, Michele, and Bob ( photographer) fill bags of the dreaded invasive species – the Garlic Mustard FB site

Despite the facebook page, we are having difficulty attracting enough volunteers to help us in this endeavour.  We are asking the town for assistance in finding a way to involve more members of the community, as this project is monumental.  One idea for next year, might be for the town to declare the month of May as ‘Garlic Mustard Awareness Month’, and to include this on their facebook posts.


Michele Hunter and Rosa Pyette