Monday, December 28, 2020

Phillip Elden Explains Why Earthworms Are A Danger To Trees

Phillip Elden

Earthworms are a common sight throughout the entire United States, says Phillip Elden. What’s not a common site are non-native varieties that have the potential to destroy entire forests. 
According to Phillip Elden, Michigan, USA, is ground zero for an earthworm invasion that may cause significant distress to up to 95% of the United States forest systems within the next 100 years. 
These invertebrates, which Phillip Elden explains are brought back to the United States accidentally by gardeners transplanting European foliage, are not that different from native species of worm. However, instead of burrowing deep into the ground, they tend to consume leaves and other organic matter on the top 3 to 4 cm of the ground. This can cause significant issues as certain trees, especially sugar maples, rely on this natural compost for nutrients and to retain moisture. 

Sugar maple dieback is a significant issue as these trees are common throughout the US. Phillip Elden notes that scientists and conservationists from across the country are just beginning to see the potential threat level. Coupled with climate change and poor soil management practices, entire forests may soon be at risk. 
Phillip Elden says there is no easy solution to this problem, but asserts that it begins with identification. He explains that it is up to those on the ground to go out and identify areas where non-native earthworms are present. Next, applicable management agencies must come up with mitigation techniques to reduce the spread brought on by the new earth worm population. In many cases, this is having enough bodies on the ground to physically remove a large number of worms in hopes that they will eventually die off. 
Phillip Elden asserts that this is a long-term problem that requires an ongoing solution. Only through strategic partnerships, volunteer hours, and lots of research can this or other invasive species be controlled.