Minnesota has been invaded and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) needs your help. What can you do to help?
First, prevent the spread of invasive species. Before leaving home for a camping trip, make sure your belongings are free of mud and plant debris, buy local or certified firewood, and inspect pets, boots and belongings before returning home.
Second, early detection is essential. Learn to identify invasive plant species found in Minnesota at www.dot.state.mn.us/roadsides/vegetation/pdf/noxiousweeds.pdf. The following are just two of the many noxious weeds to watch for.
• Palmer amaranth, Amaranthus palmeri, was discovered in Minnesota in 2016. This plant is listed on Minnesota’s Prohibited Noxious weed eradicate list. All above- and below-ground parts of the plant must be destroyed. Transportation, propagation and sale of this plant is prohibited. Any seed contaminated with palmer amaranth seed is not legal for sale in Minnesota.
Palmer amaranth is a fast-growing weed native to southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico. It has developed herbicide resistance, making it difficult to control. One plant can produce up to 500,000 seeds. It has a fast growth rate, making it highly competitive, and it inhibits growth of agronomic crops such as corn and soybeans. Palmer amaranth has rounded leaves and a dense leaf cluster that is poinsettia-like.
Landowners, along with MDA, USDA, and the University of Minnesota Extension, have been working to eradicate the Minnesota infestations.
• Garlic mustard, Alliaria petiolata, is on the restricted noxious weed list. Restricted noxious weeds are widely distributed throughout Minnesota and are detrimental to humans, animals and the environment. The only feasible means of control is to prevent the spread by prohibiting the importation, sale and transportation of propagating parts. Common buckthorn, crown vetch and Queen Anne’s lace are examples of other restricted noxious weeds.
Garlic mustard is native to Europe. It most likely was brought to the United States for food or medicinal use. It has colonized the eastern and midwestern US. The plant is a biennial forming a rosette of foliage the first season and a white flower cluster the second season in May through June. Each flower in the cluster forms a slender seed capsule with a single row of black seeds that dehisces at maturity, spreading seeds everywhere on the forest floor.
Garlic mustard is invasive and detrimental to our native woodland plants, which have a difficult time competing with the prolific garlic mustard plants. Focus should be placed on preventing flowering plants from going to seed. Regular hand-pulling works with small patches. Mowers and weed trimmers can be used on larger patches. Herbicides applications have been successful on late fall first season rosettes or early spring second season plants.
The third step to prevent the spread of invasive species is to report any that you see. “Arrest the Pest” relies on Minnesota residents to report potential threats to Minnesota’s forests, prairies and crops.
To report a pest, take a picture, collect a sample if possible, note the exact location and report information to firstname.lastname@example.org or 888-545-6684.
To submit your discovery within minutes of finding the pest, download the free Great Lakes Early Detection Network (GLEDN) app from the Google Play Store or the Apple AppStore.