BELLEVUE, Wash. -- It's invading our parks and forests, and it may be taking over your backyard. It's garlic mustard, an invasive plant.

Recently, a Bellevue Parks and Recreationemployee found the largest growth of garlic mustard in the city. The employee was walking around Coal Creek Park when he smelled the overwhelming scent of garlic, a bad sign. He found a huge area over two acres covered with garlic mustard. Now, park officials are worried the weed will kill other plants.

For King County noxious weed specialist Maria Winkler it is not a pretty sight in nature.

We have to get on this immediately. We have to stop this as fast as we possibly can, she said. These plants are actually putting chemicals out through their roots that inhibit other plants from growing. We're thinking now they could actually damage the trees.

The chemicals are in the composition of the soil and kill forests, and now there's a growing concern garlic mustard seeds are seeping into the water and hurting the salmon stream.

It gets overwhelming, hence the reason we really need to nip this population in the bud keep it from spreading, said Winkler.

The problem: the noxious seeds are spread by people on shoes, clothes and your dog's fur. And the challenge only gets harder in the wild.

It can be a little tricky to ID it, said Winkler. Even we make mistake sometimes.

The county is fighting the noxious weed with herbicides, a process that takes years to eradicate. They remind people: don't be fooled by its appearance.

It looks small green and cute, but it's nasty, said Winkler.

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