The eradication of garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) from natural populations has proven to be difficult; however, manual removal efforts can be effective at reducing or eliminating small populations when repeated for several years, exhausting the seed bank. We evaluated a variety of manual removal methods for efficacy in reducing viable seed production in garlic mustard. Plants were uprooted and evaluated for subsequent viable seed production based on four variables: (1) height (short, tall), (2) phenological stage (flowering, early-fruiting, late-fruiting), (3) deradication (root removed from uprooted plant), and (4) disposal method (hang, scatter, pile). Uprooting plants at the flowering stage prevented production of any viable seed, while early- and late-fruiting plants were still able to produce viable seed. Fruits initiated on taller plants (≥ 40 cm) produced significantly (P < 0.01) more viable seed than those on short plants (≤ 35 cm). Deradication of uprooted plants did not offer an advantage in reducing viable seed production. There were no significant differences in viable seed production between groups of plants subjected to different disposal methods. Garlic mustard root systems left in the ground after aboveground portions of the plants were removed at four phenological stages (budding, flowering, early-fruiting, and late-fruiting) either did not resprout or produced short-lived sprouts that died without flowering. Our findings suggest that pulling garlic mustard before fruit initiation will reduce seed production, regardless of the disposal method employed or whether roots are left intact.
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Vol. 32 • No. 3