[Maipc] Refined procedure for using marking flags

John Ambler john.ambler at verizon.net
Sat Apr 21 13:02:39 PDT 2012

Here's a simpler technique for using marking flags to check a large area systematically and efficiently for garlic mustard and other invasive plants.  I modified the original email message.


I annually check a large flood plain for garlic mustard.  I have been removing it there since 2001 and now I just find scattered plants, possibly due to tiny missed plants dropping a few seeds or due to floods bringing in seed.

To efficiently scout for garlic mustard in this large wooded area, this year I decided to use marking flags.  I am using 2x3 inch marking flags on 21 inch wire staffs from Lowes tool section.  The flags are available in white or orange.

The area I checked is a long, 200-foot wide floodplain with a creek on one side and an old dirt road on the other.  Here is the procedure I found most efficient.

Run a row of flags across the flood plain from the road to the creek.  The flags can be 15-20 feet apart in the row.  Go back to the road and run a parallel row of flags across the flood plain 10-12 feet from the first row.  Check for and remove garlic mustard etc. while placing and removing flags.

After placing the second row of flags, return back to the road along the first row of flags and remove the flags as you scan for and remove invasive plants.  Then run the next row of flags and repeat the procedure.

This is a very efficient way to systematically cover the area.  Areas around each row of flags are checked going in two directions.  This helps you be sure you find all the plants you want to pull.  You don't miss any area and you don't waste time checking the same area more than needed.

John Ambler
Lancaster, PA
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