Earthworms: Good for the Garden or Not?
Date May 26, 2022
There is a lot of debate surrounding earthworms and their effects on gardens. Some people swear by them, while others believe they are nothing but trouble. So, what’s the verdict? Are earthworms good for the garden or not?
What Is an Earthworm?
Before we can answer the question of whether or not earthworms are good for the garden, it’s important to understand what an earthworm is. Earthworms are small, segmented creatures that live in the soil. They range in color from pink to red to brown and can grow up to 12 inches long. Earthworms consume organic matter, such as dead leaves and plants, and help to aerate and improve the structure of the soil.
The Benefits of Earthworms
Now that we know what earthworms are, are earthworms good for the garden? Let’s take a look at some of the benefits they can offer to gardens.
Earthworms help aerate the soil with their tunneling.
One of the most important benefits of earthworms is their ability to improve soil quality. As earthworms consume organic matter, they help to aerate the soil and improve its structure. This, in turn, can improve drainage and air circulation and make it easier for plant roots to penetrate the soil.
Fresh aeration allows not only oxygen but also other important nutrients essential for plant growth to reach the roots of plants. That is music to tree care experts’ ears!
Earthworm castings help nourish the soil.
Another benefit of earthworms is that their castings (waste) help nourishes the soil. Earthworm castings are full of nutrients that plants need, such as nitrogen and phosphorus. This natural fertilizer can be very helpful for a garden’s health, as these nutrients are essential for plant growth.
Earthworms Help with Pest Control
In addition to their soil-improving properties, earthworms also help to control pests. Their burrowing and tunneling activities help to aerate the soil, which can reduce compaction and make it more difficult for pests to survive. Additionally, earthworms consume many of the same pests that attack gardens, such as bacteria and fungi.
The Drawbacks of Earthworms
Of course, there are also some downsides to having earthworms in the garden.
Earthworms can cause harm to delicate roots
Earthworms can also cause problems in the garden. Their burrowing can damage plant roots and make it difficult for plants to grow. This can cause harm to the plant’s ability to take up water and nutrients from the soil and can ultimately lead to plant death.
Hungry earthworms can stunt new plant growth.
They can also eat newly planted seeds, which can prevent them from germinating.
Earthworms can easily overpopulate
Additionally, if there are too many earthworms in one area, they can actually eat all the organic matter in the soil, which may leave plants without enough to feed off of.
Earthworms can attract rodents
Furthermore, earthworms are a very appealing source of food to animals which can attract other pests to the garden, such as moles and voles. You may end up with many small paws digging up your soil. That can be a problem from both a practical and aesthetic standpoint.
So, are earthworms good for the garden or not? Generally, they are beneficial, but the answer may depend on your individual situation. If you have a healthy garden with few pest problems, earthworms can help to improve soil quality and provide other benefits. However, if you have a garden that is struggling with pests or diseases, earthworms may do more harm than good. As always, it’s important to consult with a gardening expert before adding any new creatures to your garden.
If you need advice or assistance with good and bad garden worms in your yard, get in touch with the ISA-Certified Arborists at TreeNewal and enjoy tailored tree care advice.
We’re a little different than the average tree services company.
Learn more about TreeNewal’s ISA Certified Arborists!
Healthy trees, healthy lives.