Worm-free zone?


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Yesterday, while digging the second half of my garden, i noticed that there aren't any earthworms (well, three, and all of them little, skinny things). the other half of the garden has plenty. the flowerbeds have plenty. what is causing this one area to be wormless?
 
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Virtually my entire yard use to be worm free, except little areas under trees and where ever debris collected, i.e. leaves and stuff.

The reason was because I live in Florida, near the ocean, and I have very, very sandy soil and worms can't live in sandy soil....they need tons of organic matter.

I've since mulched virtually my entire yard and worms now thrive in these areas and the soil is loaded in organic matter, from a combination of mulching with leaves, burying wood (hugelkultur) and composting under the mulch.

So, I'm wondering what your soil structure is? If it's sand then it may be too sandy, or if the part of your garden is in the sun and the other part is in the shade, maybe the worms in the shade are still hibernating or have moved to a warmer part of the yard....

A lot of factors to consider...
 
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thanks for the input. the soil (if i can stretch the word, "soil" a bit) on that side is quite a bit sandier. i'm in texas; that means i'm working with solid clay. three years ago when i started working this ground, the few worms were tiny and skinny, i figured because they couldn't get big with that clay around them. i know carrots can't; i get this 4-inch-long stick. so, basically, work on the soil for another five years; eventually the worms will move in. got it.
 
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Did you use insecticide or herbicide in that area? Clay can be really wet and drown them also. Winter and spring are times when I see areas with worms change, because our clay perc is so slow. You can feed molasses or organic proteins like blood meal and boost up the food sources. They don't just eat organic matter. Bacteria and fungi are on the menu too, and they get a boost from the carbs and proteins you can easily add to the soil.
 
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MaryMary

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tempestborn, worms eat decaying organic material, so I would guess that there is a lack of food in that area of your garden. Also, the clay may be too heavy for them to move through. :unsure:


Clay can be really wet and drown them also.

If you've got a bucket of rainwater and an aerator, would you try an experiment for me? You'll also need a couple worms to sacrifice in the name of Science. :) It's still too cold here, they'd die from the cold and skew the experiment!! (It needs to remain above 40F.)

Q. Why do worms come onto driveways and sidewalks when it rains?

A.
Dr. Dennis Linden, Cindy Hale, and other worm experts say that worms do NOT surface to avoid drowning. In fact, they come to the surface during rains (especially in the spring) so they can move overland. The temporarily wet conditions give worms a chance to move safely to new places. Since worms breathe through their skin, the skin must stay wet in order for the oxygen to pass through it. After rain or during high humidity are safe times for worms to move around without dehydrating. It is true that, without oxygen, worms will suffocate. But earthworms can survive for several weeks under water, providing there is sufficient oxygen in the water to support them.
http://www.learner.org/jnorth/search/WormNotes3.html
Edited to say that I added the underlining to that quote, it didn't come that way!! :joyful:
 
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My worms come and go. I am clueless as to why. There is plenty of organic stuff in the soil and plenty of moisture but for months there are literally tons of worms and then not a worm to be found for a couple of months.
 
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tempestborn, worms eat decaying organic material, so I would guess that there is a lack of food in that area of your garden. Also, the clay may be too heavy for them to move through. :unsure:





If you've got a bucket of rainwater and an aerator, would you try an experiment for me? You'll also need a couple worms to sacrifice in the name of Science. :) It's still too cold here, they'd die from the cold and skew the experiment!! (It needs to remain above 40F.)



Edited to say that I added the underlining to that quote, it didn't come that way!! :joyful:
Like a frog hibernating and breathing with some kind of osmosis? Here we have this combo of superfine clay and continuing wet for weeks at a time. Add to that very little in the way of food down deep and they disappear from several areas of the yard each year.
 
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i think organic matter is the problem. i've only been working on this soil (broad definition) for three years; it starts out as solid clay. i guess this is an area that still needs more attention than the rest. that you, everybody, for your responses.
 
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Mostly, they prefer living in the root zones, as in, in roots. The more open and organic the soil, the more and bigger species of worms there will be. You can judge the tilth of your soil by the population of worms and other critters that eat stuff found in earth verses on the earth surface. Those that live under the surface eat decaying materials, while those that live on the surface and just hide under stuff and sometimes under the surface eat live plants... and each other.
 

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Like a frog hibernating and breathing with some kind of osmosis?

Worms don't have lungs. (I love this forum for making me learn things, even if I don't really understand some of it!!) They "breathe" by exchanging gases through their skin, which has to be wet for this to happen. They will secrete mucus when their environment is too dry.

It seems they surface for a variety of reasons...:unsure: Either they are migrating to look for a better food source, or they are...
heysexy.001.gif
... looking for a mate. It is also thought that they associate the vibration of rain on the ground with the vibration of a digging mole, and they are surfacing to avoid a predator.

It was raining the other night when I came home from work, and my sidewalk had worms on it, but they were not there the next day when I went outside. Today I learned that they will actually be paralyzed if they are exposed to light for more than an hour. So I think the ones that look drowned on the sidewalk are caught out when a brief summer shower clears up and the sun comes out.



 
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I read the links. Nothing changed. The osmosis I described fir a frog is the same as forthe worm. The dummy that used water never measured oxygen saturation of his test water, and bubbling it through a tap would super invest the water with oxygen versus some standing water so ultimately I have to say cool video but its not the right details so sorry bro.
 

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@MaryMary you are becoming my worm queen!

If you'll make that Wyrm Queen, then you've got a deal!! 'Cuz who wouldn't want to be Queen of the Dragons?!? (y)


I read the links. Nothing changed.

Are we discussing two different things?

I am trying to debunk the idea that worms surface because the soil is saturated, and they are trying to avoid drowning. (Because if soil saturation is the reason they are surfacing, then why don't they burrow down into the soil, like they do in winter to escape the cold...?)

Are you talking about whether a worm will "drown"/suffocate in clay soil, due to a lack of oxygen?


I'm confused. :sorry:
 
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If you'll make that Wyrm Queen, then you've got a deal!! 'Cuz who wouldn't want to be Queen of the Dragons?!? (y)





Are we discussing two different things?

I am trying to debunk the idea that worms surface because the soil is saturated, and they are trying to avoid drowning. (Because if soil saturation is the reason they are surfacing, then why don't they burrow down into the soil, like they do in winter to escape the cold...?)

Are you talking about whether a worm will "drown"/suffocate in clay soil, due to a lack of oxygen?


I'm confused. :sorry:
No, I am aware that they surface when its wet because they find it nice out and go for a stroll. However, in the long term, say 2-3 months, they can displace.
 
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yesterday, while digging the second half of my garden, i noticed that there aren't any earthworms (well, three, and all of them little, skinny things). the other half of the garden has plenty. the flowerbeds have plenty. what is causing this one area to be wormless?
If the soil is cold, worms go deep.
Don't know whereabouts in the US you are, but I know that some of you have had a hard winter.
 

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