Daylilies forum: Earthworms in the daylily beds

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Name: John
Marion County, Florida (Zone 9a)
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farawayfarmer
Jul 13, 2014 6:31 PM CST
The alfalfa thread segued briefly into a discussion of earthworms earlier.

While I was out riding the Deere this evening, mowing part of the north 40, so to speak, I thought of something.

Do earthworms survive in beds covered by landscape fabric?

True, the woven material allows water, and presumably air to pass through it. But I don't know how often (if ever) earthworms come to the surface. With the cloth in place, the only openings will be in the holes around each daylily plant.

Does anyone know????

Thanks
John
Name: Vickie
Elberfeld, Indiana, USA (Zone 6b)
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blue23rose
Jul 13, 2014 7:11 PM CST
Very good question John. I just dug up three daylilies today, but did not see any earthworms.

On another note, I was digging around the flagpole a few weeks ago and up with a shovel full of dirt came the biggest worm I have ever seen! It was about a foot long and as big around as my pinkie! I wanted to get a picture of it, but it got away too fast.
Vickie
May all your weeds be wildflowers. ~Author Unknown
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Composter Garden Photography Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Seedfork
Jul 13, 2014 8:17 PM CST
We discussed this in another thread about the fabric, and it pretty much kills the soil underneath it. I will post this link again because I think it explains my feelings about the fabric pretty well.
http://northcoastgardening.com/2010/10/why-i-hate-landscape-...
Name: Vickie
Elberfeld, Indiana, USA (Zone 6b)
Bee Lover Garden Photography Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Region: United States of America
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blue23rose
Jul 14, 2014 4:40 AM CST
Very interesting article. I wish I didn't have the weedmat now. Thanks for the info!
Vickie
May all your weeds be wildflowers. ~Author Unknown
Name: Pat
Near McIntosh, Florida (Zone 9a)
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Xenacrockett
Jul 14, 2014 5:09 AM CST

Thanks for the link, Seedfork.
That is my thinking also.

I have considered landscape fabric, but I've always seen weeds eventually poke through or around it.
The fact that it pretty much kills everything underneath is a no brainer.

I plan to slowly, but surely put in some type of raised beds with mowed lawn in between.
I have lots of fence posts from when we had horses here, and since they are rated for underground use,
they should hold up fine being laid down like a "log cabin" type raised bed.

I think those worms that are as thick as your finger are "night crawlers." I have some here along with the other earthworms.
Name: John
Marion County, Florida (Zone 9a)
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farawayfarmer
Jul 14, 2014 7:41 AM CST
Some thoughts that came to mind early this morning while I was out in the field behind our house, riding the Deere.

I reflected at length on the pros of landscape fabric and the cons of losing earthworms because of it. And, while I'd very much like to have both, I'm going to come down in favor of the fabric. For this important reason: I've had both knees replaced, and while they gave me the ability walk without a cane, you can't kneel with prosthetic knees. Oh, I know a couple of people who claim to be able to do so, but I have my doubts.

This means that my much younger partner has to do the weeding, and with beds that stretch some 300 feet around three sides of our front yard, it's practically a full-time job. The best I can do is place a Samsonite folding card table chair at the edge of a bed, and lean down and pull. Unfortunately, I can't get much more than 12 or 15 inches into the bed without falling out of the chair (not a pretty sight). 'And of course, the chair sinks into the soil if I place it in the bed.

So, it because a practical choice, and we're going to give the landscape fabric a try.

Took this picture yesterday evening about seven. The area in view represents the area remaining to be mowed. What you can't see is a similar-sized area to the left which has already been mowed.
To place things in perspective, it's about 300 feet from where I'm sitting on John Deere, to the tree line.

I do some of my best thinking while riding the Deere.


Thumb of 2014-07-14/farawayfarmer/aff800

John
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Jul 15, 2014 3:15 PM CST
I was surprised to learn a while ago that many earthworms in North America are actually introduced aliens (like me!) and not necessarily good for all ecosystems (probably also like me!). Try a Google search using the words earthworms usa alien for some articles on the subject.
Name: Betty
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daylilydreams
Jul 15, 2014 3:24 PM CST
Would this work for you to sit on while weeding? http://www.gardeners.com/buy/deluxe-tractor-scoot/40-131.htm...
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Name: John
Marion County, Florida (Zone 9a)
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farawayfarmer
Jul 15, 2014 5:00 PM CST
[quote="daylilydreams"]Would this work for you to sit on while weeding? ]http://www.gardeners.com/buy/deluxe-tractor-scoot/40-131.htm...

Interesting, even clever, but rather expensive. Thanks for calling it to my attention.
John
Name: John
Marion County, Florida (Zone 9a)
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farawayfarmer
Jul 15, 2014 5:01 PM CST
sooby said:I was surprised to learn a while ago that many earthworms in North America are actually introduced aliens (like me!) and not necessarily good for all ecosystems (probably also like me!). Try a Google search using the words earthworms usa alien for some articles on the subject.


I did, and the articles I found were somewhat astonishing.
John
Name: Glen Ingram
Macleay Is, Qld, Australia (Zone 12a)
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Gleni
Jul 16, 2014 3:15 AM CST
It is the same here. So many introduced earthworms. @80 species.

http://australianmuseum.net.au/Australian-Earthworms
[Last edited by Gleni - Jul 16, 2014 3:17 AM (+)]
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Name: Mary
My little patch of paradise (Zone 7b)
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fiwit
Jul 16, 2014 5:25 PM CST
farawayfarmer said:Some thoughts that came to mind early this morning while I was out in the field behind our house, riding the Deere.

I reflected at length on the pros of landscape fabric and the cons of losing earthworms because of it. And, while I'd very much like to have both, I'm going to come down in favor of the fabric. For this important reason: I've had both knees replaced, and while they gave me the ability walk without a cane, you can't kneel with prosthetic knees. Oh, I know a couple of people who claim to be able to do so, but I have my doubts.

This means that my much younger partner has to do the weeding, and with beds that stretch some 300 feet around three sides of our front yard, it's practically a full-time job. The best I can do is place a Samsonite folding card table chair at the edge of a bed, and lean down and pull. Unfortunately, I can't get much more than 12 or 15 inches into the bed without falling out of the chair (not a pretty sight). 'And of course, the chair sinks into the soil if I place it in the bed.

So, it because a practical choice, and we're going to give the landscape fabric a try.


John, is your only reason for landscape fabric the weed prevention aspect of it? Try corrugated cardboard/newspapers instead. In 2008 I built an 8x16 raised bed and laid down several layers of corrugated cardboard/newspapers on top of the ground before filling the bed. It's been 6 years, and I still barely have any weeds in that bed. It was 3 years before I saw any weeds at all in it. Thumbs up

I had lots of cardboard available, since I had just moved into my house. But you can hit local stores and get their boxes - they just toss/recycle them. Earthworms LOVE corrugated cardboard. nodding
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Name: John
Marion County, Florida (Zone 9a)
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farawayfarmer
Jul 16, 2014 6:57 PM CST
fiwit said:

John, is your only reason for landscape fabric the weed prevention aspect of it? Try corrugated cardboard/newspapers instead. In 2008 I built an 8x16 raised bed and laid down several layers of corrugated cardboard/newspapers on top of the ground before filling the bed. It's been 6 years, and I still barely have any weeds in that bed. It was 3 years before I saw any weeds at all in it. Thumbs up

I had lots of cardboard available, since I had just moved into my house. But you can hit local stores and get their boxes - they just toss/recycle them. Earthworms LOVE corrugated cardboard. nodding


Interesting. Thank you.

John
Name: Mary
My little patch of paradise (Zone 7b)
Gardening dilettante, that's me!
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fiwit
Jul 16, 2014 8:33 PM CST
I tip my hat to you. What I've heard/read is that 7 layers of cardboard/newspapers forms an impenetrable barrier. @Dave might have some additional insight.
Northwest Georgia Daylily Society
I'm going to retire and live off of my savings. Not sure what I'll do that second week.
My yard marches to the beat of a bohemian drummer...
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
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dave
Jul 17, 2014 6:58 AM CST

Garden.org Admin

Definitely not impenetrable. The cardboard breaks down pretty completely within a season.

Weedyseedy
Jul 17, 2014 9:47 AM CST
A landscape guy in this area says he hates it----if you ever have to tear it up roots grow right through it an it's a tangled mess, you end up pulling weeds, roots soil and all-double thick cardboard stops weeds and eventually rots down, especially if you cover it with ground wood chips which I haven't done but the boxes are keeping the weeds down by themselves. They are just not decorative . If I weed (which is not often--you can't find my house behind eight foot weeds) I loosen by rocking a spade back and forth then use a long handled cultivator. I also have two benches, one folding that I can either sit on or turn upside down and kneel on and use the legs to stand up. Both were inexpensive, but I have osteo arthritis in every joint from one end to the other especially my back and if I get down on the ground I usually can't get up, and there is no one here to weed except me (and the deer)-Weedy

Weedyseedy
Jul 17, 2014 9:58 AM CST
Oh----I forgot about the worms. Last year I had an absolute infestation of Burmese wacky worms. They slither like a snake and jump right out of your hand but they turned out to make good fish bait. however they destroy so much organic matter that they can seriously deplete a forest floor and . reduce the amount of fallen leaves that the soil and trees need to the point that they can wreck woodland---weedy
Name: Pat
Near McIntosh, Florida (Zone 9a)
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Xenacrockett
Jul 17, 2014 10:29 AM CST
Weedyseedy said:Oh----I forgot about the worms. Last year I had an absolute infestation of Burmese wacky worms. They slither like a snake and jump right out of your hand but they turned out to make good fish bait. however they destroy so much organic matter that they can seriously deplete a forest floor and . reduce the amount of fallen leaves that the soil and trees need to the point that they can wreck woodland---weedy


I've heard of fishing areas where any kind of earthworms are outlawed since they eat the forest floor duff (I think it is called).


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