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Re: Amer. Gardener article/Wild Greens


I understand, Auralie, that the soil seedbank has a 5 year life, so
you have to be diligent for at least 5 years and not allow any to
reseed.  It's not spread by birds, as far as I know, but there have
been studies that indicate that white tail deer spread it and I sure
would not be surprised about that.  They don't eat it, but the seed
adheres to their fur when the brush past it.

It is also known to spread down streams via water flow.

My observations indicate that the great bulk of any one plant's seed
germinates in a relatively small area around the mother plant.  Each
plant sets copious seed.  I have pulled minute plants in flower -
like about 2 or 3" tall consisting of a single stem with a flower on
top...also capable of creating viable seed.  These tiny seedlings are
generally in inhospitable spots and often under other plants - they
are very good at hiding under shrubs and taller perennials, where you
will miss them completely.  They love getting in the middle of a pile
of wild brambles or roses.

Once seed matures, the plant tends to fall sideways and since, by
that time, it consists only of a pale beige stem with thin seedpods,
it's also easy to miss.  If you jiggle such a stem, the seed falls
out of the pods readily.  Seed is black and slender; not easily seen
on the ground to pick it up.

The seed will germinate the spring after it matures no matter if a
log falls on it or it's covered in 8" of leaves; it will germinate. 
Many seedlings are killed the following winter or maybe by a very dry
summer, but there are so many of them that a goodly quantity live
over winter as a tight green rosette of leaves at soil surface to
grow on, flower and set seed the following year - they are biennial
plants.

Their structure is such that simply giving a pull does not kill the
plant.  They break readily just at ground line, leaving their crown
and roots in the soil to resprout, so you have to get the roots out
or at least the thickened part of the crown (like the top of the main
root) out when you pull them or they just come back.   So, you have
to grab the blighters at soil line to do any thing but set them back
a bit and if you don't get that main root.....

The seed will continue to mature on pulled plants, so I always pull
and wring to kill the plant tissue so the plant can't continue to
support the seedpods.

You can make nice compost out of these pulled plants IF you remember
to put the seedheads to the center of the pile and your compost heats
up sufficiently to kill the seed.  If this isn't possible, it's best
to bag and trash the plants.  It is extremely tedious to remove the
seedheads from pulled plants; slows down the clearing operation no
end...been there; done that.  But, if you leave them and just pile
the remains, you will find a nice circle full of seedlings where the
pile was after it rots down.

Lovely plants NOT.  Well, actually, they are attractive in bloom and
if there were only a few, one could live with them, but they have a
major world domination goal.

Marge Talt, zone 7 Maryland
mtalt@hort.net
Editor:  Gardening in Shade
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> From: Aplfgcnys@aol.com
> I couldn't agree more, Marge.  What I can't understand is why, when
I have 
> for years, determinedly pulled garlic mustrad out by the bushel as
soon as it 
> appeared in the spring, before it bloomed, I keep getting masses of
it.  I guess 
> the seed must live in the soil for years.  If it were just brought
in by 
> birds, there couldn't possibly be so much of it.  Birds bring in
lots of the 
> Oriental bittersweet, and I find that seeded just about everywhere,
but not in the 
> msses that  garlic mustard makes.
> Auralie

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