Garlic Mustard Pic 1

Garlic Mustard Removal Season in Acton's Conservation Areas

Spring 2014: We need your help - please sign up for picking sessions listed to the right.

Update: The Garlic Mustard picking season is just about over: the remaining plants are beginning to drop their seeds. Contact us at if you can pick any time in the next few days. The picking season will stop at about June 9: after that picking the plants will tend to just help disperse the seeds.

Goal: To minimize the impact of invasive plants on the wild areas of Acton, Massachusetts

new! If you are a conservation land abutter, please fill out this simple form to give us some permission to clear garlic mustard from your property

There is also an Acton Invasive blog, because it's easier to keep adding news and events there.

Home Plans Contact:

Garlic Mustard is an invasive plant that is moving in to Acton conservation lands. Together, we can get it out of there.

Garlic Mustard shoots up in thickets from basal rosettes in a two-year cycle in both grasslands and woods, and crowds out the native spring ephemerals that are otherwise a lovely and diverse part of the wild understory. It even damages the fungal communities that trees depend on; and it threatens some butterfly populations that are looking to lay eggs on native mustard plants and find the non-sustaining garlic mustard plants instead. We humans introduced it to this area as a salad plant late in the 19th century, but it has escaped our gardens since then, and is growing wild and thick.

The good news is that it is easy to identify, and it can be hand-picked to extirpation in five years of Spring (and sometimes Fall) picking sessions. Picking the second-year plants is a simple hand-pulling operation. We need your help - many hands make the task doable. On many weekend days we will have group picking sessions at two of our largest invasion sites, the Acton Arboretum and Nashoba Brook conservation land. You can sign up to start at 9:00 AM, 11:00 AM, 1:00 PM, or 3:00 PM.

You can also sign up without indicating a time or place. We'll contact you to figure out where and when you'd like to pick. There are many other places we'll be removing garlic mustard, and the picking can be done at your convenience. We'll provide training, and, if you'd like, other people will pick with you.

We'll provide bags, you provide water, snacks, sunblock, gloves & clothes that cover your arms & legs. Some sites have some Poison Ivy - we'll provide TecNu soap, but let us know ahead of time if that's of concern, and we can steer you away from the worst sites.

Here's a great handout or poster about Garlic Mustard.

Here's our target sites (updated March 12, 2014)

Acton Arboretum.

Multiple invasions, all of them picked in previous years, some more completely than others. Meet at the end of Wood Lane.
April: Saturday 5, Sunday 6, Saturday 19, Sunday 20
May: Saturday 3, Sunday 4, Saturday 17, Saturday 18, Saturday 31
June: Sunday 1, Saturday 7, Sunday 8

Nashoba Brook at Wheeler Lane

There is one large sprawling invasion at the end of Wheeler Lane. This includes areas under pine trees, in the open, and in the woods. Meet in the parking area near the end of Wheeler Lane, which is off of Rte 27 in North Acton. April: Saturday 12, Sunday 13, Saturday 26, Sunday 27

Plans are subject to change, so please be sure to put your contact information in the sign-up sheet to the right, or contact Jim Snyder-Grant at 978 266-9409 (home) or, on work days, you can call 508 572-2985 (cell). You can also contact us at

There are other smaller invasions on conservation lands, or sites that need special care in scheduling. All these other sites are listed below. If you'd like to work at one of these sites, sign up without indicating a date, time or place, and we'll contact you to work something out.

Nashoba Brook at Milldam and at Davis Road

There's an invasion along the access from Milldam.

Guggins Brook

A small invasion at Guggins in the inner meadow that has developed some satellite invasions.


This invasion is right near the entrance - it is beginning to creep down the path toward the main part of the conservation land

Nagog Hill

This large mostly-never-picked invasion is on both sides of the trail between the Grassy Pond entrance and the inner meadow on the way to the Hybid Farm entrance. We will need a special effort this year involving power tools, herbicide, or both.

Will's Hole / Town Forest

There is one small dense invasion on the Captain Handley access trail, and a more scattered invasion along the paved portion of the yellow trail.

Great Hill - near Piper Road

This invasion was reported last year. Its exact size is unknown. It is on the newly acquired part of Great Hill, near the Piper Lane entrance.

Morrison Farm

This small invasion is mostly in between the sidewalk and the paddock fence.

Heath Hen Meadow

This small invasion was first noticed (and picked) in 2013. It's on the downhill side of the meadow closest to Robbins Street.

Wright Hill

This land is up for purchase by the Town at the 2014 Town Meeting. There is a sprawling invasion near the top of the cart path that will need some preliminary investigation this year if the land is purchased.

Here are sites that will be picked by groups. If you work with a group that wants a service project, let me know & we'll find you an area you can pick

Camp Acton

A sprawling invasion next to the access road, and along a right-of-way that crosses the access road. In 2013 this site was picked by Scouts, and they will be returning in 2014 on National Trails Day, June 7. Hooray for the Scouts!

Great Hill - Main Street

This invasion is in two clumps, near Main Street, south and north of the parking area. This area will be picked by High School Senior Service Day volunteers on Friday May 2