Invasive jumpworms pose a threat to the ecosystem

The Mountain Gardeners of the Mad River Valley canceled its annual plant sale this year due to concerns about Asian jumpworms being transmitted through the plants. “Many of the plants have been donated from other companies and individuals, and there are some risks involved in spreading the worms,” ​​said Stephanie Venema, publicity officer at Mountain Gardeners. We are not trying to trigger any kind of alarm. . . The Mountain Gardeners team will continue to review guidance from the University of Vermont Extension Service to determine safe best practices for future sales.” (See more in The Valley Reporter’s Friday newsletter.)

Too devastating
According to the University of Vermont Insect Research Laboratory (UVM), “A new and highly destructive group of earthworm species is invading Vermont’s forests. These are from Japan. There are currently three Asian species that appear to threaten northeastern hardwood forests: Amynthas agrestis, Amynthas tokioensis, and Metaphire hilgendorfi.” They are known as snake worms or transit worms. These worms seem to threaten the regeneration of canopy and little species. They produce very distinctive castings that look like loose coffee grains. More research will be done to determine solutions that can protect forests from these worms, particularly the most common type of worms. Snakes (Amynthas) and nocturnal reptiles (Lumbricus terrestris) damage. [worms] It is introduced by diffusion through fishing lures, fertilizer, gardening supplies and plant exchanges.”
Asian jumpworms have been found in 37 states, including Vermont, said Joseph Juris, assistant professor at UVM, who studies soil quality in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. He said they’ve been on the East Coast at least since the early 1900s, when, according to one theory, they came to Washington, D.C., in cherry blossom trees shipped from Japan. He said they came to the West Coast earlier, in the 1860s, perhaps when trade between the United States and Japan began. In addition to spreading through plants, some people also believe that worms may travel with hikers, fishermen, and other originators. “The reason people are canceling factory sales is because they don’t want to sell worms with plants,” Goris said.
False Destruction
He said the damage caused by the worms is mainly due to the forests, where the worms destroy the lower layer and feed on the upper layer of the soil, affecting the germination of trees and plants. One primary concern is that maple forests are not regenerating due to worms, which can be a huge problem in Vermont, affecting foliage and maple syrup production. “Maple forests are susceptible to these worms,” Goris said. “Leaf litter contains the right nutrients for them. These worms thrive in maple forests.”
Advanced Organic Materials
According to Cornell Cooperative Extension, “Asian jumpworms eat up organic matter more quickly than their European counterparts, stripping the forest of the important layer for seedlings and wildflowers. Jumpworms grow twice as fast, reproduce more quickly and can invade soil at high density. In areas of severe infestation, they may decline Native plants, soil invertebrates, salamanders, birds and other animals These invasive worms can seriously damage the roots of plants in nurseries, gardens, forests and lawns.
Cocoons can spread easily on potted plants, on landscaping equipment, mulch, tire tops, and even hiking boots. One obvious sign of infestation is highly uniform granular soil created from worm castings… When you scratch the top layer of soil, you will see the worms stumble in an irregular, snake-like motion. These worms, which can be up to 6 inches long, are more active than European nocturnal crawlers. Asian jumpworm can be found both on the surface of the soil and in leaf litter, which makes it easy to find. They can live anywhere from urban parks and suburban backyards to rural woods. You’re also very likely to find it in compost piles and along roads… The Asian jumpworm has a prominent band around the worm’s body, called the clitellum, where the cocoons are produced. The belt completely encloses the body, its color ranges from milky white to light gray and is aligned with the body; The body looks metallic. In European nocturnal crawls, the clitoris is raised or saddle-shaped, reddish-brown in color and does not wrap completely around the body.”

UVM تجربة experience
Gorris and his students at UVM conducted an experiment in which they transplanted cilantro plants into three pots: one in which jump worms were present for two weeks before planting, one in which the worms were added at the same time as the plants and another in which no worms were present. Plants with worm castings showed symptoms of dehydration and some died, while plants without worms thrived. “It’s a sign that something might be going on,” Goris said.
Some plants have shown resistance to jumping worms, such as Jack-in-the-Pulpit. Anais Dobson, a researcher at Yale University, studies the effect of invading worms on the ecosystem. According to the Yale website, it says, “Ultimately, I hope to develop innovative environmental solutions and management guidelines to mitigate the spread and effects of the jump worm.”
The UVM Entomology Research Laboratory website says, “Forest management plans can include strategies to reduce exposure to vectors: eliminate bait droppings, reduce movement of horticultural materials and check all nursery types prior to planting for the presence of worms or marks, such as distinctive castings. To identify Whether you have these earthworms in your woods, look for casting mounds known as Middens (Amynthas) and for pits and tunnels (Lumbricus). As an initial warning sign of the presence of both species, look for dwindling vegetation and vegetation.”
plants examination
“There’s not much you can do about it,” Goris said, although he recommended washing the roots and checking the plants for worms and their cocoons, which can take a long time. He said there are currently no approved insecticides to eradicate invasive jumpworms.
mustard mustard
Megan Mofroyd of Broadleaf Landscaping at Waitsfield shared some advice: “Don’t buy or use jumpworms for bait, worm composting, or gardening; use a reputable compost or mulch product that heat treats the material to 130°F for at least three days to destroy cocoons or buy mulch packed.Check your property for jumping earthworms with estuary mustard (will not harm plants).Mix a gallon of water with 1/3 cup of ground yellow mustard seeds and pour slowly into the soil.This will push any worms to the surface where you can easily remove them. Be careful when sharing and moving plants Always check for worms and know where your plants are coming from Buy bare-root stock when possible If you have a few jump worms hand-pick them and destroy them by putting them in bags and throwing them in the trash Or put it in a bag and leave it in the sun for at least 10 minutes; then throw the bag away.” She said she had not yet encountered such worms in her work but had heard from other valley residents that they had noticed them.
“I have jumping worms in my garden,” said George Schenk of American Flatbread in Waitsfield. “So far, I have not noticed that they are harmful to garden plants, although I understand that they can be very harmful in forest soils. When I come across them this growing season, I will collect them and see if the chickens will eat them (chickens eat other types of worms). One The best precaution is not to move the garden soil into the woodland. This is somewhat easier on the floor of The Valley but more difficult on a hillside or in a lot of woodland.”
sterile mixtures
“We don’t have it here and don’t expect there to be any problem in the greenhouse because we only use sterile soilless mixtures for all of our plants,” said Andree Frazier of Frazier’s Greenhouse in Roxbury. “From what I’ve read, worms breed in garden soil, mulch, and rotting leaves and can be spread by people transplanting something from already infected soil or by not washing garden tools. People shouldn’t give up on gardening! The worm has to come from somewhere!” I’ve read that if you have an infestation, you can sterilize the area by spreading a piece of clear plastic over the lawn or lawn surface and letting the sun bake the soil (called insolation – getting the temperature to 104 degrees for three days) to kill the cocoons. Worms love sawdust, so when purchasing sawdust, it is best to ask the supplier if they have taken precautions against the spread of jumping worms.”



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