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need advice on redirecting earthworm activity

Posted by jscanlin z7NY (My Page) on
Wed, Jul 20, 05 at 11:05

Hi, all,

I'm hoping someone on this forum might be able to give me some advice on controlling earthworm foraging. Have also posted on MetroNYGardener (my home area) but nothing forthcoming, so far.

Here's the problem. The earthworms in our garden are highly active in the spaces between the paving stones in the patio. Churning up the soil, uprooting the moss, generally making a mess. The pavers are set in sand, but it's mixed with dirt and there is a clay soil underneath. Guess the worms are coming up from that soil. I've tried watering them out of the cracks and putting them into the raised flower beds, but they don't seem to stay there. Or maybe there's just a huge population under the patio...

So, does anyone have any ideas on how to discourage the worms from tunnelling between the paving stones? I'm wondering if there are plants they don't like or whose roots they won't tunnel through, or safe substances I could treat the soil with, etc.? I don't want to hurt them, and I value their work, I just want to encourage them to party elsewhere ;)

Thanks!
Best,
Jen


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: need advice on redirecting earthworm activity

I guess you've stumped people on this one. I can't offer any suggestions, either, only hind sight. A landscape cloth barrier laid down first would probably have prevented this problem. You aren't the first one to post this issue.

Since this IS a good question, why don't you post it in the New to Gardening Forum. You may not be a new gardener, but that forum gets LOTS of visitors. I'll bet you'll get some ideas in there.


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RE: need advice on redirecting earthworm activity

Thanks, rhizo 1, I'll do that. Some folks in the soil forum suggested relaying the patio, with a 4-inch layer of gravel plus a 2-inch layer of sand beneath the paving stones. May resort to that, but before digging it all up, I'm considering planting a small groundcover between the stones, e.g. Corsican Mint or some of the smaller Thymes, to see if that will help.

Best,
Jen


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RE: need advice on redirecting earthworm activity

Worms go where there's food. Give them something better to eat elsewhere, and they might leave your bricks alone. A big bucket of used coffee grounds might do the trick. The folks on the organic gardening forum are really up to speed on their worms.


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RE: need advice on redirecting earthworm activity

The worms in between the stones are most likely soil earthworms and not the redworms which eat organic matter. Planting thyme or other steppable plant in between is your best bet other than the huge job of relaying the stones down. If the area your stones is down is fairly new then normal settling could be happening and then relaying needs to be done but never use soil, go for the gravel and sand.


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RE: need advice on redirecting earthworm activity

This advice may get boos -- maybe rightfully so. Does anyone have any thoughts about a little bit of salt -- I don't know how much.


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