Life after garlic mustard?
I've just pulled up all the fruiting plants I could find in a garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) infestation covering about 10,000 sq ft. of shaded ground, and I'm thinking about what comes next.
I understand that it takes 2 to 5 years to exhaust the seed bank in the soil. Next year's crop has already germinated from seed deposited last year or before, and I may use a glyphosate herbicide on it this summer, knowing that several years' more work is in store for me.
But nature abhors a vacuum, and I'm wondering what I can plant cheaply to cover the ground and make it harder for the garlic mustard or other weeds to re-invade. (There's Ranunculus repens on site biding its time to take over from the garlic mustard.)
I've read that the National Park Service overseeds garlic mustard infestations with Fescue to offer the seedlings some competition, but that must be in sun. I'm wondering what I can use in shade, preferably a native cool-season plant that's vigorous but not too weedy.
I've thought about overseeding with northern sea oats (Chasmanthium latifolium), though I'm afraid I may be replacing one weed with another. Though a native, it can be very aggressive, and may thwart my plans to plant a woodland garden eventually. Deschampsia caespitosa is another native grass that might be a little more manageable.
Can anyone suggest any other candidates, vigorous natives whose seed is cheaply available? Zone 5b, under widely spaced sugar maples, on a well-drained south slope with rich acid soil, in valley bottomland a few yards upslope from a seasonally wet meadow. There's existing partridgeberry and lady fern and Aster cordifolius, to give you an idea of the site conditions.
Has anyone managed to extirpate a garlic mustard infestation of this size and successfully re-vegetate it with shade-loving natives? Or is "control" the best I can hope for? (Eternal vigilance being the price of liberty.)
I garden in Massachusetts.