The invasive garlic mustard weed (Alliaria petiolata) has spread throughout the northeastern United States. It also occurs in parts of the western, southeastern and midwestern regions. It grows as far north as Alaska. The plant can grow in moist or dry forestland and can quickly establish itself in disturbed areas. Garlic mustard weed grows rapidly and quickly overtakes native plant life. A biennial, it produces foliage during its first year of growth. In its second year, it grows flower stems and produces seeds. A prolific seed producer, a single plant bears hundreds of seeds that can quickly germinate.
Pull out the garlic mustard seed in the early spring when the plants first appear. Grasp the plant at the base of the rosette of leaves, next to the soil, and pull upward. Promptly discard the plant and its root system. Tamp down the soil after pulling up the weed to limit disturbances that may disrupt native plant life.
Cut flowering garlic mustard weed plants at soil level before seed production begins. Use a pair of pruning shears to cut the plant. Promptly dispose of the plants. Watch closely to make sure the plant does not resprout from its root system.
Apply an herbicide that contains 1 to 2 percent glyphosate in the early spring or late fall, while the temperature is still above 35 F. Thoroughly saturate the foliage. Watch closely to ensure that the herbicide does not drip or blow onto surrounding native plants. Follow the directions on the herbicide label for application instructions.