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Changing Seasons: Changing Projects

Red drip torch can used to start fires

by Austin Godwin, Iowa Polk Field Crew Member / AmeriCorps Member

fire in a grassland

This month for the Polk county crew, we have finished up our final burn for the spring season of burning. We were able to get a burn done at the Chichaqua Bottoms even though weather hadn’t allowed us to burn a whole lot this season here in Polk county. We as well have started the season of spraying and pulling garlic mustard.

Garlic mustard is an invasive species that overtakes the understory of plants and chokes out the native habitats. We were able to go to Brown’s Woods and Easter Lake in Des Moines and begin the process of eliminating the plants in these areas. When the garlic mustard begins the flowering at the top you must start the pulling process of the plant. This means you must pull the whole root system out to stop the development of new sprouts from the seedlings.

small green leafy plants

The most crucial part is making sure you throw the plant into a trash bag, because if thrown on the ground it allows the garlic mustard to give off the seed and spread even more by wind and animals. It has been a great start to the season of spraying for invasive species and I look forward to the progression we make in the future of our local parks in Polk county.