PDA

View Full Version : Worms


Tony Harrell
10-28-2002, 07:23 AM
We've had quite a bit of rain lately and more is coming. Worms are popping up all over my personal lawn. Those little buggers do a better job of aerating than I can. My question is, Won't pest applications kill the worms? Aren't they beneficial? Is there a timeline for worms like for grubs so I could avoid killing them? I hate walking on the lawn after they've been at it sometimes because I think I'll twist an ankle but I suppose they're good for the soil.

tremor
10-28-2002, 07:03 PM
Tony,

It's hard to hit worms hard enough to keep them down for long. Used to be, chlordane would keep them down for years. No more.

Worms are beneficial for soils & help keep thatch in check too. But the castings (worm poop) make the turf bumpy enough here at my place that I find myself running a thatcher lightly over (then rolling) to try to keep it smooth.

I used to have a putting green in the backyard. Still have the greens mower. The reel & rollers would smuch the castings & live silver dollar sized "dirt patches" after every mowing. It drove me crazy. I was tempted at the time to let the worms have it. Sevin SL at the grub rate kills worms & keeps them down for 2 or 3 weeks. Then they come back again.

I wouldn't worry too much about accidently destroying them. Heavy rains flood their tunnels & kill them by the thousands. And they're still back in a couple weeks.

If you don't mind the castings or are burdened with heavy soils in poor till that are lacking worms, then by all means, add some. If they don't do well, topdress with Peat Moss, well rotted manure, or other composted organic matter. Then add some more nightcrawlers at a time that the soil is moist. They'll work their magic in time. All you need are the common bait fishing night crawlers sold at tackle/bait shops.

Pains in the butt here though. I've got no shortage of power toys to keep my soils loose.

Steve

Arnold
10-29-2002, 12:11 AM
I have worms on my greens too, but they don't cause that much problem for me but I once sprayed a fungicide called Quick Stop and I didn't see any worms for like 2 years it seemed. The only problem with this chemical it kills soil microbs so you can't reuse it much or for the sole reason to get rid of worms. We once had some baby skunks that loved eating the worms off the greens (raise some skunks) was sort of a problem when it came time to mow. But they were cute.

tremor
10-29-2002, 06:51 PM
Arnold,

Do they leave castings? What height are you mowing at?

Steve

Arnold
10-30-2002, 12:47 AM
Yes, they do leave casings but my mower always seem to pick them right up it might be the height. Over the summer we mowed at 3/16".

Tony Harrell
10-30-2002, 06:37 AM
I saw a show on tv about worms this past weekend. The guy produces the richest soil with them. I think it was horse manure he mixed in rows and mounded it up. The worms eat their way to the top. Then they harvest the top part to save the worms and sell the bottom. They also said the worms propagate quickly. The castings made it extremely rich.

tremor
10-30-2002, 08:25 AM
Managing the moisure in those mounds is critical. Any idea how he did it?

This admission is a hard one. It's kind of embarassing. LOL. Don't get me wrong here. I'm not as cheap as this makes me sound. I grew Nightcrawlers & Dillies for a while here this summer for bait. Not because I can't just buy them. But when you have a small fishing pond within walking distance to your house, the last thing a father & 5 year old boy want to do is pack into the truck for a 30 miniute round trip to a bait shop. It's a quality of life thing, you know?

The time spent watering here was my failing. If I added another zone to the sprinklers, & stuck some drip emitters or fine spray misters on a rack over a bath tub......hmm.....probably not. But anyone else who has some free time could.

Anyway, except for fine, close reel-cut turf lawn areas, I don't think anyone can have too many nightcrawlers. The benefits to hard soils are endless. Though here, they make a mess of my mulched/bed areas as they pull fallen Maple leaves into their tunnels at night, & then I can't get them loose with a blower.

While earthworm castings are pretty low in nutrients, the OM benefit to poor soils is substantial.

According to Souhern Illinois University-Carbondale

Ph 7.1
CEC 37
P 33
K 137 1.1%
Ca 6110 83%
S 60
Mg 700 15.9%
Zn 3
Fe 366
Mn 2
Cu 1
B .6

A lot more valuble as a soil amendment than Peat Moss. But unless we harvest our own, a lot more money too.
So for what I get out of it around here, I just let the worms do their own thing.

Steve