Identifying Invasive Species

Buckthorn & Garlic Mustard

The Big Woods is inundated with invasive plant species including buckthorn and garlic mustard. Volunteers are needed to stifle the expansion of these species in the Big Woods and to educate the community on how to destroy these species in their home environment.

Buckthorn and Garlic Mustard

Why is buckthorn such a problem?

  • Out-competes native plants for nutrients, light, and moisture
  • Degrades wildlife habitat
  • Threatens the future of forests, wetlands, prairies, and other natural habitats
  • Contributes to erosion by shading out other plants that grow on the forest floor
  • Serves as host to other pests, such as crown rust fungus and soybean aphid
  • Forms an impenetrable layer of vegetation
  • Lacks "natural controls" like insects or disease that would curb its growth

Why is garlic mustard such a problem?

  • Spreads into high quality woodlands upland and floodplain forests (not just into disturbed areas)
  • Invaded sites undergo a decline on native herbaceous cover within 10 years
  • Alters habitat suitability for native insects and thereby birds and mammals
  • This European exotic occurs now in 27 Midwestern and northeastern states and in Canada