The fields of bastard cabbage around Austin might seem too daunting to remove, but Joan Singh, Parks Grounds Manager for the Austin Parks and Recreation Department, has a suggestion. If you’re using a park like Mabel Davis anyway, take a minute to remove an invasive plant while you’re there.
What’s important to preventing the spread of many invasive plants is to keep them from reseeding, Singh says. Bastard cabbage grows, flowers and goes to seed very quickly, producing vast numbers of tiny seeds. (See photos taken Feb. 18 and March 25 to see how fast bastard cabbage has overtaken a field next to Parker Lane.) It would be best to remove the plant, roots and all, but even just removing the flowering top of a plant can help keep the numbers down in the future.
That’s also true of another invasive plant showing up in the area, Malta star-thistle (Centaurea melitensis), says Singh. It’s easy to recognize because native yellow-flowering thistles are uncommon in this area.
Individuals can make a difference, though a group effort to remove invasive plants from a park would be ideal. Singh says that if you give her 24 hours’ notice, she can deliver plastic bags to dispose of the plant debris. Get rid of the plants in the trash, because the seeds can spread if they make their way into recycled mulch. Leave bags near trash receptacles in the park, near a trailhead or in another logical place, and let Singh know where they are so that city crews can remove them. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 974-6044.