The Jumping Worms – Minnesota’s Dangerous Plant Hitchhikers
The Jumping Worm, warns Angela Gupta, University of Minnesota Extension invasive species educator, is NOT your friend and should not be trusted, even for a short time, to look after your soil and plants.
Worms bad for the soil...for plants? Yep. Not just your normal everyday earthworms. We love them. They're our friends, and if they could drink, I'd invite 'em out for a summer beverage. Maybe even a grill out.
But Jumping Worms? I wrote about them last year, but they're back and maybe worse than before.
A BIG no no is buying bait advertised as jumping works, snake worms, Alabama jumpers or crazy worms. If you're an angler, get rid of any unwanted bait worms in the trash. And if you're just outdoors recreating, knock the mud of your boots and equipment. (KEEP READING MN DNR's Jumping Worm Recommendations)
Relatively new to Minnesota, the invasive worms cause a lot of trouble for gardeners. Unlike most earthworms, which live in the top six feet of Minnesota's soil, jumping worms find their home no more than a few inches.
"This large volume of worms living in the top-most layer of soil eat many fine root hairs and have been known to kill plants and completely alter the soil structure."
They also get the other worms to move out, even tho they're a lot deeper.
How do you keep the buggers out of your garden? Angela Gupta says if you go out to buy your plants, "Greenhouses or plant nurseries that use weed-free soil are likely worm- and weed-free. The same treatments that kill weed seeds should kill jumping worm eggs."
One of the ways to tell if soil has been home to jumping worms is if it looks like coffee grounds. You see that, stay away, and warn the soil owner.
There's a lot more to know about jumping worms, so please, explore more here. If you see them, please get in touch with extension.
Have you discovered jumping worms in your garden? Extension is asking gardeners with jumping worms to help us better understand which management strategies may reduce jumping worm impacts and which ones may not. If you’re attempting to manage jumping worms please tell us about your experience.
As always, if you have a comment, complaint, or concern about something I wrote here, please let me know: firstname.lastname@example.org
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