Garlic mustard workshop July 28 at Severson Dells

Garlic mustard is a rapidly spreading weed that is causing native wildflowers to disappear in our northern Illinois woodlands. It is very aggressive and dominates the forest floor, shading out plants such as trilliums and bluebells, and depleting food supplies for wildlife.

The latest research being conducted to control garlic mustard will be presented at 7 p.m., Thursday, July 28, at a workshop at the Severson Dells Nature Center, 8786 Montague Rd., Rockford. The workshop is sponsored by the Natural Land Institute and Severson Dells and is free and open to the public.

Biologist Victoria Nuzzo of Richford, N.Y., and former naturalist at Severson Dells, will present the program. Nuzzo is one of the county’s experts on the ecology of garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata). She has conducted research for more than 15 years, documenting the spread of the plant, its impact on native flora and fauna, and effectiveness of control methods. She is currently involved with developing a biological control program for this exotic species.

Garlic mustard was introduced from Europe by early gardeners for its medicinal properties. It readily spreads into high-quality forests, unlike most weeds that invade habitats that have been disturbed. It spreads rapidly, producing seed only two years after sprouting from seed. The stems and leaves of garlic mustard give off the strong odor of onion or garlic when crushed.

To register or for more information, call the Severson Dells Environmental Education Center at 815-335-2915 or the Natural Land Institute at 815-964-6666.

From the July 20-26, 2005, issue

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