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City of Mississauga Parks and Forestry - Natural Areas

Garlic Mustard

What is Garlic Mustard?

Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata) was introduced to North America in the late 1800’s by European settlers, who used it as a food source and as herbal medicine. It has since spread beyond the boundaries of cultivation and has invaded a variety of landscapes throughout Southern Ontario.

Garlic Mustard has a two-year life cycle and seeds can remain viable in the soil for up to five years. Once seeds germinate, seedlings grow rapidly and quickly outcompete slower-growing native species.

Impacts on Biodiversity

The aggressive nature of Garlic Mustard allows it to quickly crowd out and displace native plants. Chemicals are also released from its roots that change the soil chemistry, making it unsuitable for the growth of native species. Additionally, loss of native vegetation reduces the variety and quantity of food sources available for wildlife.

How does it spread?

Garlic Mustard seeds fall close to the parent plant, but are spread over long distances by humans, pets and wildlife. Seeds can be carried on items including boots, fur or clothing.

How can you help?

Our Forestry team is currently taking measures to reduce its population in Mississauga, but since it can double in size in four years’ time, we need all the help we can get.

We’re asking interested residents to help us win the fight against garlic mustard by joining our Garlic Mustard Task Force. This group of volunteers will receive training and be assigned a designated park or natural area near their homes.

If you’re interested in helping us control Garlic Mustard in your area, please email parks.forestry@mississauga.ca to join our Garlic Mustard Task Force.

If you have any questions about the program, please contact 3-1-1 (or 905-615-4311 from outside Mississauga city limits).

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