Disclaimer for all gardeners – there are no beautiful flowers, lush shrubs, or stunning trees in this post. 🙂
Last week was our first Master Gardener refresher course, and it was packed. I guess all the Master Gardeners in NH felt the same way I did and were excited to even talk about gardening.
The most memorable topic was Invasive Earthworms in the Northeastern USA and the Horticultural Industry presented by Josef F. Gorres, Ph.D, University of Vermont in Burlington. Dr. Gorres traveled six hours round trip in order to speak to us.
The Amynthas Agrestis or crazy snake worm has been around for many years but is now being recognized in the Northeast as an invasive organism.
Plant materials originating from the Far East are suspected of having brought it to the US. One of the big questions is whether Amynthas Agrestis is attracted to municipal leaf mulch, compost, and wood mulch or do they travel with it.
They are feeding on leaf fall in our forests in the Northeast creating compressed areas of castings where nothing will grow. In Vermont, they have destroyed roots of plants and trees including some Sugar Maples which are the main source of sap for maple syrup.
It was first reported in New Hampshire last year when the owner of an organic nursery sounded the alarm after seeing the devastation in one of her greenhouses.
In Connecticut, their abundant castings are being blamed for the demise of lawns while Pennsylvania has reported that a Hosta producer lost the majority of their crop. Lady Slippers have also been reported to succumb to the compressed castings.
Even if you are a proponent of pesticide use, there is not one known to eliminate just the crazy snake worm.
We have been asked to be on the watch for this worm and notify our local Cooperative Extension office if we find any. Have you seen this crazy snake worm in your garden?
To those of you gardening, enjoy. To those of us still surrounded by white, may the melt begin soon. 🙂
If you’ve ever had any interest in a Master Gardener program, here is a link to our local information – UNH Cooperative Extension.
Additional Information on the Amynthas Agrestis:
- Vermont Public Radio
- Vermont Invasives
- NY Times, Home and Garden
- GreatLakes Worm Watch
- Scientific American