Asian worms

Asked September 29, 2019, 7:47 AM EDT

What is the danger to my garden if I have Asian worms? Do I need to add any specific soil amendments?

Pike County Pennsylvania

3 Responses

I'm not sure how Asian jumping worms (AJW) will affect a garden in particular, but suspect it isn't good.

AJW process organic matter faster than European earthworms, which changes the nutrient cycling in forest settings. They likely will affect how compost is incorporated into a garden. In addition, the castings (worm poo) they create do not break down but remain as small balls. This locks up nutrients, which makes them unavailable to plants, and changes the soil texture, which may affect root growth.

There are, as far as I know, no labeled wormicides for AJW. However, they respond to tea seed meal fertilizer, which contains saponins that irritate the skin of the worms and force them to the surface, where they desiccate and die. So maybe your garden needs a fertilizer treatment to make up for the nutrients the worm castings lock up and maybe you happen to use tea seed meal for the fertilizer.

Where can I purchase this and/or what is the name of the product(s)?
Thank you

Google "tea seed meal fertilizer". There are a variety of brands available online. I haven't seen it for sale locally, but you may have better luck in your area;