Benefits of Earthworms
The constant tunneling of earthworms allows the free passage of air
into and out of the soil.
2. Worms' burrowing also breaks up the hard pan and plow sole created
by mechanical tillage.
By eating organic materials such as manure, leaves, grass
and decaying wood, earthworms break them up at a much faster rate than
would otherwise occur.
4. Nutrient-rich worm burrows allow plant roots to develop faster, thus
making stronger and healthier plants less susceptible to fungus,
disease, or pests.
5. Rainfall is better able to enter the soil when lots of
earthworms are burrowing. This eliminates the water erosion and
puddling which can kill young plants.
6. In the case of Lumbricus
Terrestris and about 50 other
species of earthworms which
have similar habits, the digging of deep semi-permanent burrows brings
mineral rich sub-soils to the surface in reach of plant roots.
A large population of worms will attract robins among other
species of birds. While robins will prey on the worms in the early
months when worms are near the surface, the birds will turn to
feeding on insect pests later in the season.
Probably the most important contribution made by earthworms is the
way they homogenize minerals and organic materials into a rich black
humus. Just as mixing compost into clay or sandy
soils improves the soil texture, the activities of earthworms
are even more effective. When worms ingest organics they also have to
take in small bits of grit just as birds do to digest their food. When
this is expelled it is a nutrient rich manure known as a "cast". The
structural integrity of each cast is such that it does not fall apart
readily. Earthworms casts improve soil structure and porosity and
lessen the impacts of erosion from wind and water.
When earthworms are present in good numbers, tillage of a
kept to a minimum. Less tillage means moisture conservation,
fuel savings, and less equipment expenditures and repairs.
Prince George, British Columbia