Replanting after garlic mustard

dr.liz(7 NJ)April 23, 2013

I am in the process of creating woodland gardens on two small patches of my one acre lot. I'm estimating they are each about 40x100.' Last summer I cut vines and treated the stumps, and I have seriously slowed them down or killed them. I also uprooted the privet growing wild on the property. I haven't tackled the autumn olive yet, but it's on my list. I've started replanting with understory natives--serviceberry, clethra, Fothergilla, and Aronia. Everything is individually protected with cages to keep away from the deer.

This spring I've started pulling the garlic mustard, prioritizing 2nd year plants. My question is what to plant instead. I'd like a native for the woodland floor that will fill in rapidly to replace the garlic mustard and help suppress weeds. Any ideas?

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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

I would suggest Virginia Creeper. It is a native vine that behaves similarly to poison ivy, but without the itchy rash. It is an excellent ground cover as well as a climber. It does not harm the trees it climbs on. It has very small flowers and produces berries used by many birds and other critters. I've been told it can be propagated by cuttings, but I've had best success starting from seed. I tried to collect seed/berries from a friend's established patch, but they disappear due to their popularity with the birds. Good luck.

Martha

    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 12:03PM
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misskimmie(z4b Central NY)

My little "woodland" has lots of violets and sweet woodruff. Then patches of native and shade loving perennial plants. I have wild ginger, trilliums, bloodroot, hepatica, bane berry, trout lily, jack in the pulpit, columbines, pulmenaria, european ginger, huchera, lenten rose, and other plants. way along the back near the neighbors fence I have hostas. It took yeas to collect all of the natives getting them from camp, friends, trades etc. But I STILL have garlic mustard, just not as bad as as I used to.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 8:14AM
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linnea56(z5 IL)

True geraniums are good. They make thick patches that squeeze out other things. Plus, there are so many kinds. The leaves are so pretty even when they are not blooming.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 10:11PM
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momliz(7a VA)

anything that fills in rapidly could end up being invasive - yes, there are native thug plants. Why not wait and see what comes up? there might be some nice plants in there.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2013 at 11:46PM
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jctl(Z5(ON))

I'm in a similar situation to yours. I'd say, based on experience, that it really depends on your particular environmental requirements. I've found, to the detriment of our wallet, that making plans and purchasing plants based on what's listed about a particular plants requirements often doesn't line up with how they behave (or not) on my property.

For instance, virginia creeper, by all accounts, should thrive in my woodland. After three years the original plants are alive, but haven't grown in any significant way. I'm now taking a different tack: this year I'm just going to plant several kinds of plants and see how they do. Whichever plants show the most promise is what I'm going to plant en masse next year.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 1:22PM
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achang89(Z6)

If you want it to look natural, then toss some annual and perennial native flower mixture. In late fall, you can mow it down and get rid of any woody plants. Other plants (so called weeds) would blend together and it should be just fine.

Or you can make it look like managed landscape. Then you should mulch it heavily and plant some ground covers and other plants you desire. This should cost more $, but still manageable.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 10:04PM
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