Environmental Studies Program

 

Date of this Version

Summer 2011

Abstract

Alliaria petiolata (Garlic Mustard) is a biennial alien invasive plant species of the Brassicacea family. It is responsible for displacing native plant species throughout North America and its management has proven to be extremely difficult. Recently several populations of Alliaria petiolata have been discovered in southwestern Lincoln, Nebraska. The spread of Alliaria petiolata is a concern for natural resource managers and the general public. Due to the difficulty of its control, Alliaria petiolata is capable of creating monocultures which diminish the aesthetic value of an ecosystem. While most commonly found in the understory of hardwood forests, it is capable of thriving in many different habitats and is common in disturbed areas.

This study was done to determine if Alliaria petiolata is moving into the Lincoln area and if we can expect its spread to continue. Six sites were documented with populations of Alliaria petiolata in the southwest portion of Lincoln, Nebraska. Each of these sites were visited and the life cycle of one population was documented. Several characteristics of each site were noted including; soil type, proximity to wetlands or other bodies of water, canopy cover, and proximity to trails. This data will give an idea to how Alliaria petiolata spreads in the Lincoln area and give us an idea as to how it got there.

A chronological monitoring of Alliaria petiolata was done at one site located near Sheridan Boulevard and Calvert Street along the Rock Island Trail. The study was conducted over the course of nine months and the entire lifecycle of one year’s population was recorded. Data collected at the site included; plant height, leaf width, amount of seedpods per plant, Amount of seeds per seedpod, and density and overall cover. This information will provide an idea of how well Alliaria petiolata will succeed in new areas of Nebraska.

This information should provide an adequate template for future research of Alliaria petiolata in the Lincoln area and other areas where it may spread. This study will also show whether or not we can expect to see more populations of Aliiaria petiolata in the Lincoln area.