Balls Bluff Garlic Mustard Removal

Volunteers removing invasive garlic mustard from along a bluebell trail at Balls Bluff Regional Park in Leesburg, VA.

Volunteers for this project help with removal of invasive garlic mustard in forested areas of Ball’s Bluff Regional Park in Leesburg.

Increasingly aware of the problems non-native plants can cause, Banshee Reeks Virginia Master Naturalist BJ Lecrone started this project in the fall 2020 after a visit to the park. She was amazed by the beauty of the native spring ephemerals, but also disturbed by the overwhelming amount of Garlic Mustard challenging them. 

Volunteers with this program learn to identify and properly remove non-native, invasive Garlic Mustard plants to allow the many spring ephemerals a chance to thrive. Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata) is allelopathic, in that it changes the soil chemistry around its roots in a way that displaces natives, allowing the seeds of Garlic Mustard to continue to spread. It is believed that each year Garlic Mustard is pulled will improve the soil and decrease the seed bank, so that there will be far fewer plants to deal with in the area in the future.

This year the project runs Thursdays from 10 AM to 12 PM, March 2 to April 13. More participant volunteers and leaders are always welcome. Join this project and enjoy seeing the many different spring ephemerals as they bloom during the season, and help preserve this special place. You will love being a part of this magical transition of the forest.

For more information on the problem with Garlic Mustard: 

Blue Ridge PRISM – “Rampant and Most Feared Invasive Garlic Mustard
Garlic Mustard fact sheet on

Watch videos of previous Garlic Mustard pulls and spring ephemerals