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Peky Plant Invades; Volunteers Wanted To Weed State Parks

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Garlic mustard. (credit: istock)

Garlic mustard. (credit: istock)

sandramcneill Sandra McNeill
After graduating from the University of Michigan, Sandra McNeill...
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LANSING (WWJ) - It smells good, and you can eat it — but Michigan officials say they just want it out of state parks.

Laurel Malvitz-Draper of the Department of Natural Resources says they’re looking for volunteers to help weed out a plant called garlic mustard.

“It is actually an edible plant and was brought over by early European settlers as a culinary herb,” said Malvitz-Draper. “And what started in a backyard garden has now spread into our natural area.”

Since it’s not native to Michigan, the plant has no natural enemies to keep it in check. That means it’s able to seed and spread rapidly.

Volunteer weeders, she said, are welcome to take their clippings home. However, most people opt not to. “It smells good for the first little while,” she joked. “But once you have a whole bag full and you’ve been pulling it for a couple hours, it doesn’t smell as great.”

Garlic mustard is one of many pesky plants the DNR has been using volunteers to weed out of state parks.

Malvitz-Draper said the program draws people of all ages, from men and women, to school and scout groups. “Some of them have been coming out for many years and they’ve been able to see the progress we’re making in some of our natural areas, so it is very rewarding,” he said.

“It’s fresh air, and you know there’s something to be said for being surrounded by green things,” said Malvitz-Draper. “I don’t know. It just makes me happy.”

You can sign up as a volunteer weeder at this link

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