JM Innovations

Michigan Ag News Headlines
New Aphid Could Take a Bite Out of Garlic Mustard: is It Working in Michigan?
Michigan Ag Connection - 03/31/2023

Invasive garlic mustard has become a harbinger of spring in Michigan.

Right now, the pesky plant is popping up along roadsides, trails and streams, carpeting forest floors and taking hold wherever it finds open ground or disturbed soils.

Crushing the leaves or stem releases the plant’s telltale garlic odor.

Survival skills Anyone who has experience managing a garlic mustard infestation is familiar with its persistence. Hand-pulling is the most common method of control and can yield bags and bags of plant material each spring. Plants can produce hundreds of tiny seeds that spread easily to start new patches.

Garlic mustard exhibits habits common to successful invaders. It gets an early start and covers a lot of ground, ensuring it will outcompete most native plants. It’s not picky about where it puts down roots. Garlic mustard has one more tool in its toolbelt — allelopathy — the ability to release chemicals that can limit or prevent the growth of other plants.

Enter the hungry aphid What if there was a creature out there that just loved to eat garlic mustard?

Thanks to Rebecah Troutman, a natural areas biologist at Holden Forests and Gardens in Ohio, the public now knows there is.

While pulling garlic mustard at Holden in 2021, Troutman noticed a plant covered with tiny insects.

“I did some Googling and made a preliminary identification of the garlic mustard aphid, Lipaphis alliarae,” Troutman said.

“I then sent a sample to Doris Lagos-Kutz, research associate at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, who confirmed it was the first official sighting of the European aphid in the U.S.”

Troutman communicated her find to the Midwest Invasive Plant Network (MIPN), where coordinator Michelle Beloskur is helping spread the word in hopes of finding more places where the garlic mustard aphid is already at work.

“Since 2021, we’ve identified isolated populations in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin,” Beloskur said.

“We’re seeing impacts like shorter plants, fewer and twisted seed pods, and less overall biomass at these sites. It appears that even a small number of aphids can affect plant growth.”


Other Michigan Headlines
Pipping Concrete
U.S. Custom Harvesters, Inc.
Copyright © 2023 - All Rights Reserved.