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COHASSET

Volunteers flock to pull up invasive weeds in Cohasset

Organizers say twice as many people as usual participated in Cohasset’s fourth annual WeedFest, a communitywide effort to eradicate the invasive garlic mustard plant, in part because of the COVID-19 crisis.

Coordinator Lisey Good said in previous years, volunteers would concentrate on two or three areas of town where the noxious weed — infamous for pushing out native wildflowers, shrubs, and trees — was particularly pervasive.

This year, because of the need for social distancing, Good scouted the town for smaller patches of garlic mustard and assigned individuals and family groups to their own sites. Good provided a video and printed instructions on how to pull the weed. The event took place May 16 and 17.

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“I think because people could do it on their own time, and also because, let’s face it, everyone is starved for entertainment, more people signed up this year and many brought their kids with them,” Good said. “My estimate is that we pulled over 2,000 pounds of weeds — double what we’ve done in previous years.”

Good said the new strategy also was more effective at slowing the spread of the weed, by “stamping out little fires all over town.”

Botanists are working on finding a biological control for the weed, but until then they say the best way to get rid of garlic mustard is to pull it up by the roots and destroy it.

Johanna Seltz can be reached at seltzjohanna@gmail.com.