The Q&A Archives: Palm tree and lil white bugs

Question: We bought a palm from Home Depot about a month ago. We noticed white little worm like bugs in the soil. We changed the soil and made sure we cleaned roots good. Now a few weeks later there are more in the soil. My question is what are they, will they harm the plant, and what to do to get rid of them? Thank you.

Answer: What you describe sound like Grindal worms and believe it or not, some people intentionally grow them in potting soil to feed their aquarium fish! These little worms are related to earthworms. They won't harm your palm and they won't venture out of the potting soil. They are simply digesting the organic matter in the potting soil, and they are also aerating it, which should make your palm very happy.

The worms do not like acid soil so you can kill them off by feeding your palm with an acidified fertilizer such as Miracle-Gro, Peter's or Schultz's. These water soluable fertilizers should be diluted to half strength and used every 2-3 weeks throughout the growing season.

Best wishes with your palm!

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