While they may not get credit for being the world’s most attractive creatures, earthworms are essential to soil and garden health. They play an important biological role in the soil’s natural ecosystem and their functions benefit humans directly. If you understand the advantages that earthworms bring to your garden, you can help them thrive and your garden will flourish.
1) Recycle Organic Material
Earthworms consume organic matter, and then they digest it and mix it with soil. Poor crop growth results when the organic matter on the surface doesn’t get mixed in with the soil.
2) Increase Available Nutrients
Earthworm casts, or excrement, add more nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and calcium back into the surrounding soil. The casts have a higher available amount of these nutrients.
3) Improve Soil Structure
While plant roots produce carbon dioxide that needs to leave the soil, they need oxygen to grow. It is important for the soil to be porous for these gases to exchange. Earthworms burrow in the soil and create stable tunnels to increase air flow in the soil.
4) Reduce Soil Compaction
Because earthworms are burrowing and tunneling through the soil, they weaken the effects of compaction. The steady structure of their excrement prevents the soil from compacting and improves its overall tilth.
5) Water Infiltration
Earthworms can build both vertical and horizontal burrows in the soil. Worms seal the top of these burrows with residue and excrement, but vertical burrows are typically open. These burrows become places where water can infiltrate the soil.
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