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Bad worms?  RSS feed

 
William Bronson
Posts: 1288
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
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Joseph Lofthouse
garden master
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Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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I never trust anything published by government bureaucrats about "invasive species". It seems to me that their paychecks depend on having a fierce enemy to fight that has super-magical powers of destruction, and high dollar war against the foreigner is the only path available. In my reality, a worm is just a worm, regardless of where it was living previously. A plant is just a plant.

It's about time that worms returned to Wisconsin. They had a hard time during the last ice age and have been crawling north a little bit at a time ever since. Might as well help them out.
 
Scott Strough
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Location: Oklahoma
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I have to agree Joseph. The idea that worms destroy forests is a myth that needs debunked whenever possible. Cycling leaf litter with worms IMPROVES the soil. It doesn't harm it.
 
William Bronson
Posts: 1288
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
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I agree that the soil is improved,but I do wonder if the other species suffer.
Most of the understory around here is honeysuckle, it crowds out persimmon and pawpaw.
If it were more edible I am sure I wouldn't object, but as a steward of the land I am self interested.
Would the wood louse and millipede suffer from competing with jumpers? Are there understory plants that need layers of leafs to sprout in?
Do I care about preserving those plants or animals ?
In my garden, three inches of leaf mulch is making my vines very happy. Would nativized jumpers devoure that layer,leaving bare soil?
Would they eat sewn seeds,small ones, like lettuce?
 
Scott Strough
Posts: 299
Location: Oklahoma
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William Bronson wrote:I agree that the soil is improved,but I do wonder if the other species suffer.
Most of the understory around here is honeysuckle, it crowds out persimmon and pawpaw.
If it were more edible I am sure I wouldn't object, but as a steward of the land I am self interested.
Would the wood louse and millipede suffer from competing with jumpers? Are there understory plants that need layers of leafs to sprout in?
Do I care about preserving those plants or animals ?
In my garden, three inches of leaf mulch is making my vines very happy. Would nativized jumpers devoure that layer,leaving bare soil?
Would they eat sewn seeds,small ones, like lettuce?
In general the thick leaf litter reduces germination. The jumpers by recycling that litter more rapidly, increase germination as long as the canopy allows sunlight through.
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Posts: 2302
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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While it is very true that worms improve soil in forests, the real main concern with these "jumper" worms is that they are changing a 10,000 year environment set.
Here in the South, there are plenty of worms and my own forest still has plenty of litter on the forest floor.
The concern and the reason the government gave out a 300,000+ grant to study the worms in the North is that for the last 10,000 years they have not been there.
Now, suddenly, they are present and multiplying, it could be a concern but I seriously doubt that they are wreaking the havoc reported.

Most likely all the current hubbub over these worms is pure bunk. If I go into my hardwood forest (white oak and hickory) and turn over one shovel full of soil, I can find around 25-40 worms.
My forest is very healthy, a condition I attribute to my worm population, which contains on the order of five different species. These species have apparently segregated themselves as I don't find all five in any one area.

I do not have this particular species, the articles speak of but I do have a group of huge earthworms which came from Australia via fishing worm packages.
This species can pull a lot of material down into the soil, but I consider this a good thing in my forest, which I keep close tabs on since I grow these trees for several purposes besides having a nice hardwood forest to hunt in.

I can, as a scientist, understand some of the concerns that are talked about in the scientific papers but I will have to wait for the current studies to be completed and reports published before I could say they are on to something.

Hardwood tree seeds do need some floor litter to be able to germinate but more than that they need some critter to come along and step on them, pressing them into close contact with the soil in order for them to germinate and grow.

Here in Arkansas, the problem with most forests of hardwoods is to much understory instead of not enough. To much understory chokes out the sunlight needed to sprout tree seeds.
This is such a well documented issue that the State Forestry and the State Fish and Game have instigated controlled burns to restore the forest floor to the way it was over 100 years ago.
Other States are also using controlled burns for the same reason.

Earth worms are more of a benefit than they ever could be a problem is my current stance on the subject.
 
William Bronson
Posts: 1288
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
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My personal interest stems from the desire to vermicompost directly into the raised beds I prefer to grow in.
These worms are said to be potentially cold hardy, I would love to introduce them to my yard,but I also don't want to be the asshole that bringis bunnies to Australia,Kudzu to the South, or running bamboo to where ever .
In my city,they could do little harm, but in my state?
I live where the "Lazarus lizards" have come to be considered a protected native - never mind that a local kid brought them from Italy not to long ago.
I believe humans and our shenanigans are as " natural" as anything, but I'm trying to consider the long term results of my own personal shenanigans.
I am preparing a vermiculture filter for my sinks grey water and not having to worry too much about the worms overwintering would be great.
Furthermore, my dedicated urban yarden lot would greatly benefit from a native population of compost worms.
 
Scott Strough
Posts: 299
Location: Oklahoma
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William Bronson wrote: My personal interest stems from the desire to vermicompost directly into the raised beds I prefer to grow in.
These worms are said to be potentially cold hardy, I would love to introduce them to my yard,but I also don't want to be the asshole that bringis bunnies to Australia,Kudzu to the South, or running bamboo to where ever .
In my city,they could do little harm, but in my state?
I live where the "Lazarus lizards" have come to be considered a protected native - never mind that a local kid brought them from Italy not to long ago.
I believe humans and our shenanigans are as " natural" as anything, but I'm trying to consider the long term results of my own personal shenanigans.
I am preparing a vermiculture filter for my sinks grey water and not having to worry too much about the worms overwintering would be great.
Furthermore, my dedicated urban yarden lot would greatly benefit from a native population of compost worms.
There is no reason you are forced to use Jumpers. The area you are from has 17 native species of worms and about the same number of naturalized non-native worm species.(introduced 100's of years ago) Surely you can find a type that works in your raised beds without bringing in yet another species? My guess is they are already there in your yard! Just build it and they should come by themselves.
 
William Bronson
Posts: 1288
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
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Red wriggles are not cold tolerant, as far as I have read. The natives/nativized wormsare not compost worms, but are present and welcomed.
My experiments with worm towers show the locals to be less than enthusiastic composters. They like my leaf mulch, enough to hang out in it anyway, but the food scrapes not so much.
BTW, any link you have to to info on worms around here would be great.
 
Scott Strough
Posts: 299
Location: Oklahoma
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William Bronson wrote:Red wriggles are not cold tolerant, as far as I have read. The natives/nativized wormsare not compost worms, but are present and welcomed.
My experiments with worm towers show the locals to be less than enthusiastic composters. They like my leaf mulch, enough to hang out in it anyway, but the food scrapes not so much.
BTW, any link you have to to info on worms around here would be great.


Earthworms Native to America

As you can see, if you want a worm that does well in a hugelkultur raised bed, you'll need Lumbricidae, genus Bimastos . They don't live in soil. They prefer pure rotting organic matter to live in. You could go looking for some in the forest? I don't know where to buy them.
 
William Bronson
Posts: 1288
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
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forest garden trees urban
 
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