The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Problems caused by invasive earthworms

Contain those crawlersJust because we have native earthworms, though, doesn't mean that the invasives aren't a problem.  We've introduced species from elsewhere for bait, vermicomposting (gulp!), and accidentally in plant roots.

The biggest problems from these invasive earthworms is occurring in previously glaciated areas where native earthworms don't occur.  There, invasive earthworms are totally changing soil dynamics by eating up the duff (leaf litter) on the forest floor, which in turn affects the trees and wildflowers which grow there.

Even down here in the South, we have invasive earthworms.  When competing with native earthworms, invasives tend to gain a foothold in disturbed and fragmented forests.  Scientists are beginning to realize that invasive earthworms down here may be linked to the spread of invasive plants like the extremely troublesome Japanese Stiltgrass and might also compete with our forest salamanders.

This post is part of our Earthworms in the Garden lunchtime series.  Read all of the entries:

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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