Late winter and early spring is typically the time when the desert starts to show off its colorful wildflower blooms. In recent years the profusion of yellow blossoms along park roads has often included outbreaks of exotic Sahara mustard, a plant that is aggressively spreading across the desert.
Sahara mustard is a non-native plant that is capable of crowding out native Mojave Desert annuals. This invasive plant has the potential to do irreversible damage to the native desert ecosystem of Joshua Tree National Park and surrounding communities.
The Morongo Basin Conservation Association is working with the park to find volunteers to help eradicate this weed. Please join one or more Hold the Mustard weed pulls that are scheduled on the following Saturdays: February 21, February 28, and March 7, to pick and bag this invader. Efforts will be concentrated in the Pinto Basin area of the park.
Participants will meet at the Oasis Visitor Center in Twentynine Palms at 8 a.m. The event will last until noon. Volunteers should bring water, gloves, hats, sunscreen, pruners/clippers, and snacks
Desert residents are encouraged to learn to identify Sahara mustard and to pull it from their yards before it begins to send up its flowering parts. You can learn more about the Hold the Mustard project at the Morongo Basin Conservation Association website: www.mbconservation.org/mustard.html.
For more information about the park’s weed control program, contact Victoria Chang at 760-367-5579, or via e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org