Mugwort (alias; Artemisia vulgaris)
Mugwort is one of the most common invasive herbs in the New York region. Unless your yard is carefully landscaped you are almost certain to have Mugwort. It spreads by growing horizontal roots or runners near the surface of the soil. Like Poison Ivy, new plants are formed by sprouting upward from its prolific rhizomes. If any part of this root remains in the soil the plant will regenerate. It also reproduces by seeds that travel great distances by wind and water.
The plant is easily identifiable by pulling off a piece of it and mashing it with your fingers. Its strong scent will give it away.
It’s not all bad news. Mugwort can also be used medicinally and is dried and burned for spiritual cleansing. It is also believed to assist with dream recall.
It’s much easier to gather your medicinal plants from existing infestations. If you must have your own plant, plant it in a pot or contained area where the rhizomes can’t spread out to the surrounding landscape and cut off the top before it flowers. Don’t let this prisoner escape!
Mugwort does not have many predators. It is notorious for choking out native plants and stealing light, water, and nutrients from native grasses and herbs that like moist soil and grow during the spring and early summer season.
Eradication: Mugwort is not hard to dig up. The roots are only a few inches below the surface and even the most mature plants do not develop big deep taproots. If you have it in your yard, keep track of it and you will find the infested areas will get bigger and bigger unless someone comes along and does something about it. That’s us.
There are different strategies we employ in removing mugwort, depending on the size of the invasion, the time of year and where it is in your yard. Our best chance of success is to get to it before it goes to seed in late July. There will still be dormant seeds in the soil that will now have new sunlight and nothing to compete with them.
To prevent this next generation from taking over, we will customize a maintenance plan for you. The maintenance is progressively less time consuming with each successive effort for us, or we can teach you how to maintain it yourself.
After a couple of seasons you’ll start to see a drastic reduction in the number of returning plants and you’ll be free to plant a native grass or ground cover in its place.