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ISN has been working on controlling garlic mustard in a small residential area in Grand Traverse County since 2013, in large part because of the area's fantastic integration into the existing forest habitats. In previous years, garlic mustard choked out nearly all other vegetation: As the years have gone by, the native vegetation (Dutchman's breeches, squirrel corn, trout lilies, and even Trillium) have returned in profusion. We're still working, every year: ...but now it's a much prettier view while we work! And in spring 2017, our Seasonal Technicians found some very special Trillium! In addition to our "normal" red Trillium (T. erectum) pictured above, they spotted the rare yellow-form (T. erectum f. luteum) and a return visit yielded a pale "salmon" red Trillium as well: Moral of the story: sometimes you don't know what you're saving until you've put in the work! All photos by ISN personnel, besides the 2 "special" Trillium photos by Bob Grzesiak (from the same site), used with permission because he's my dad.
First, a bit of background: In the fall of 2012, the Brown Bridge Dam on the Boardman River near Traverse City, MI was removed. Much of the restored riverbed and the newly exposed bottomlands has excellent historic seed banks, and many native plants are returning. However, the area where the river entered the former Brown Bridge Pond had an immense amount of sediment deposited, which contained many non-native and invasive species seeds and plant fragments. Species that would normally be lower-priority are in this area elevated priorities for managers (Grand Traverse Conservation District) because of the secondary succession occurring onsite and the chance to stop the infestations before they get out of hand. Phragmites, narrow-leaved cattail, and reed canary grass are 3 of the main targets. Now for the success part! Invasive Phragmites and cattails were only present in small amounts, and have been carefully monitored and controlled with hand-swiping herbicide techniques. However, reed canary grass really took off. There is a 10 acre stretch within this heavily infested area where ~60 gallons of solution was applied to reed canary grass in just 4 or 5 hours in 2014. In 2016, the ISN Crew was able to join up with GTCD staff to treat the same area with less than 6 gallons. In the bigger picture, what formerly took two weeks to treat was treated this year in just two days.