Earth Worms do What???

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by Smallaxe, Sep 5, 2013.

  1. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    http://soils.usda.gov/sqi/concepts/soil_biology/earthworms.html

    "... Provide channels for root growth. The channels made by deep-burrowing earthworms are lined with readily available nutrients and make it easier for roots to penetrate deep into the soil.

    If one could imagine this network of channels,, one could imagine air,,, being an important part of the soil...
    One could think of these channels as openings in a sponge holding moisture inside the soil not just sitting on the top and growing in the soluble fertilizer sitting there...

    If we could transport those visual images into the thinking of others,,, perhaps the irrigation practices that turn the top soil into Axle Grease could be more easily taken off the list of,,, Ol' Wives' Tales...

    Believe it or not,,, Axle Grease Soil consistency,,, due to excessive irrigation does NOT benefit the grass... :)
     
  2. JCLawn and more

    JCLawn and more LawnSite Fanatic
    from MI
    Posts: 5,204

    If only my customer would get this. Watering once, or twice a day is not good for anything.
     
  3. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    You know EXACTLY what I'm referring to... :)
     
  4. JCLawn and more

    JCLawn and more LawnSite Fanatic
    from MI
    Posts: 5,204

    Yep. The idea is to mimic the natural habitat of the plant, not the rain forest.
     
  5. Exact Rototilling

    Exact Rototilling LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,354

    Good read [entire page] at the link.

    One of my mowing clients who once worked in the biz for just over 1.5 decades waters daily and multiple times on hot days. He was even a licensed applicator. :confused:

    Anyhow....the mention of mechanical disturbance of the soil negatively impacts night crawlers. So does core aeration encourage or discourage them?

    As a sidebar on client education. The older the client the more stubborn and unyielding they seem to be on proper cultural practices. There are a few exceptions....
     
  6. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    I see very little evidence of any kind of earthworm in MY axle grease lawns,,, so aeration shouldn't bother anything there...
    Perhaps aerating to bust up living black thatch would help feed the worm population and encourage growth,,, but I don't know that it would make a difference... Just a thought...
    I think the idea of mechanical disturbance they meant,,, would be more like 'tilling',,, in that plant residues are removed from the surface...
     
  7. foreplease

    foreplease LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,895

    Interesting academic take on what we have all been told since 1st grade.

    I don't specifically disagree with anyone here but would point out that optimum watering practices have much to do with the underlying soil type - balanced with evapo-transpiration and the plants' changing use of water. I am not in favor of coddling plants if it only serves to make them less tolerant and more demanding. That said, its natural environment is an important consideration but allowances needs to be made for any unnatural demands that our care and use of grass present. The answer could me more water or more often - or to modify how we use and care for it. There are not too many one-answer questions in turf, as we all know.
     
  8. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    One "Rule of Thumb" that works pretty good, that is sensible and easy to understand, even for those who know nothing of Botany and the intertwining factors of living things is:
    "Water the soil, When it is Dry" and one could even put an addendum to that rule which states, Shut off the irrigation when the soil is too wet...

    I suppose I could calculate the evapo-transpiration rate of my skin and breath to determine when I have my next glass of water, but I simply drink when I'm thirsty and I don't stop drinking until I'm rehydrated...

    If LCOs have a difficult time figuring out when a lawn is thirsty, then just call it fungus and sell the client another app? or figure it out and inform the client that he has too little or too much water in the root zone???

    It is just too easy to look at the soil and see a problem... :)
     
  9. foreplease

    foreplease LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,895

    Yes and perhaps others that say:
    Sandy soils dry out faster than heavy soils
    You cannot simply water sandy soils longer because, once wet, the excess water drains through
    When you have layering in soils with a heavy soil on top of a sandy one, water won't pass through to the sand until the top layer is saturated
    It's ok to water ahead of what you believe will be hot dry weather rather than wait for wilt or worse
    Some people are only allowed to water on even says, some are odd (which are you)
    Me, I'm an "even" so I get screwed everytime a month has 31 days
    Keep an umbrella in the truck in case it rains

    ...gosh there are so many things to consider.
     
  10. phasthound

    phasthound LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,560

    I had no idea earthworms had to take all that into consideration! :laugh:
     

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