natural way to aerate your trees soil

just_a_tree_guy

New Member
Location
pitts pa
ok guys i know your going to think i am crazy on this one but here it goes anyway . soil compaction around trees are bad . we know that the roots need oxygen and need to respire . i suggest you go to your local bait shop and buy several dozen of nightcrawlers . these guys are our workers rototilling and turning over the soil . they consume decay and organic waste material processing everything into plant food . after a heavy rain or real early in the mourning i can see all of there worm holes . they really help the soil for drainage by keeping it not so compacted and from becoming more compact . they work great in mulch beds as they will break down decaying mulch making it better for the soil ( no nitrogen deficiencies to worry about from mulch ). they will reproduce and the birds do not mind at all . in early times farmers use this method with great success for there crop fields . since they are turning over and helping to aerate the soil more , they will help all the aerobic micro fauna living in the soil creating a more healthly substrate for our plants and trees . i have seen these crawlers help in hard clay soils to . to get these guys to go down into hard soils just saturate the soil so it softens up and put them there and they will have a easier time getting down in the ground . there are many benefits to these worms . am i crazy ?
 

boreality

Well-Known Member
Location
boreal forest
That would be working in tree time. I've never confirmed it but someone once said there are no native North American worms. They've been imported by fishermen and farmers. Trivia or bad info, not sure.

No money in that treatment though. Better to throw three big diesels at the tree. The more diesel burnt the better the service, if you can spill some hydraulic oil, even better. That's the way to save trees.
 

tomthetreeman

Well-Known Member
Location
Rhode Island
Ha!

I actually agree with this (former) post, and I got a little shot down by Guy M for my speculative musings. I think worms can do alot of decompaction, more than we generally give them credit for.

-Tom
 
[ QUOTE ]
That would be working in tree time. I've never confirmed it but someone once said there are no native North American worms. They've been imported by fishermen and farmers. Trivia or bad info, not sure.


[/ QUOTE ]

That's right Boreality. For the most part, worms at least here in Canada are exotic imports. Whatever worms we may have had were scraped away with the glaciers. Our important native soil aerators are ants. Ants get a bad rap and are poorly understood by most people.
Forest ecologists, especially here in Alberta are actually concerned about the effect that worms are beginning to have in the boreal.
If you want to introduce worms to help remediate poor soil, you have to make it a place the worms can live in. You will need to open the soil a bit and apply lots of organics so they have a reason to live and thrive. They cannot make good soil out of compacted clay. They will just die.
Plus the species matters. Some are horizontal surface feeders in the organic layers and other species like dew worms make vertical tunnels which go pretty deep, so they would presumable contribute to increasing aeration in a different way.
 

just_a_tree_guy

New Member
Location
pitts pa
wow cerviaborist great article ! i guess not all is good with these guys . i would like to at least let you know i never did this for a client .just in my small yard . i will never do this again . i hate when i make mistakes .
 

cerviarborist

Very stable member
Location
Florida, USA
You know, Just a tree, I had the same initial thought, wondering if they'd be good for decompaction. At the time I just did a word string inquiry on an internet search engine using "worms decompaction soil" and found a bunch of articles like the one above.

I wonder about the folks touting the benefits of worm castings and castings teas, and whether they're inadvertently spreading earthworms as well.

Down here in Florida, we're overrun with invasive species of plants and animals from other parts of the world that have arrived here and are now reproducing unchecked in the wild. Coyotes, fireants, tilapia, piranha, pythons, Australian Pine, zebra mussels, feral hogs, malaleuca, brazilian pepper, iguanas....it's beyond insane.
 

scubadude1188

Member
Location
Central MD
I think its a good thought if you're in the right area, but really if you mulch around a tree you don't have to spend the extra money to buy worms because the worms already in the soil will come to the food source of the mulch and multiply. In regards to aeration, just think if you've ever experienced an area that is sod and replace it with a garden or mulched area. After just one season you can notice a marked difference in the compaction of the soil from all the activity the organic food source brings.
 

zebhaney

Member
Location
Federal Way WA
Good call, Scubadude. I'm a big believer in the power of mulching. Get the organic layer going and a whole lot of living organisms will show up. The soil will not de-compact quickly, but the conditions favorable for the fine non-woody roots to form will improve. Worms will show up, as will fungi, native trees and plants, and more.

Also another good use for the wood chips the industry generates.
 
Stumbling in on this discussion a little late. Dr. Glynn Percival recently put out an interesting study on decompaction by vertical mulching and worm application. Interested in this concept of provide food and the worms will come, but could assume that by bringing some in you may speed up the process.
 

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cerviarborist

Very stable member
Location
Florida, USA
Stumbling in on this discussion a little late. Dr. Glynn Percival recently put out an interesting study on decompaction by vertical mulching and worm application. Interested in this concept of provide food and the worms will come, but could assume that by bringing some in you may speed up the process.
And you may well inadvertently introduce an exotic invasive species in the process. First find out if earthworms are even a natives species in your area before you introduce them to the food web.
 

ATH

Well-Known Member
Location
Ohio
And you may well inadvertently introduce an exotic invasive species in the process. First find out if earthworms are even a natives species in your area before you introduce them to the food web.
Big problem...at least in the UP.

Earthworms at the Root of Sugar Maple Decline:
 

DSMc

Well-Known Member
Location
Montana
Hmmm, I wonder how all those other mixed hardwood forests around the world, you know, the ones where the worms came from, have managed to survive.
 

ATH

Well-Known Member
Location
Ohio
Same way native habitats managed to survive Honeysuckle, Ailanthus, Emerald Ash Borer, Pythons, Salt cedar, Asian carp, Snakehead fish, zebra mussels, Chestnut blight, and on and on...
 

DSMc

Well-Known Member
Location
Montana
Speaking of Asian carp, I thought this was interesting. https://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/eating-most-hated-fish-mississippi-invasive-asian-carp

Of the reports that I have read on the worm problem, I have found the preconceived level of acceptance a bit much and backed by a strong anti-native bias. In all other studies, treed or untreed, worms are an indicator of PH, moisture, temperature, and soil conditions required and compatible to plant growth

Explain for instance, how the decades long process of increased nutrient availability introduced by the biomass incorporation into soil, had no outward growth indicators on the forest. The worms didn't haul all that litter away, they incorporated it into the soil and made it bio-available.

I strongly believe there is something that is being overlooked.
 

flushcut

Well-Known Member
Location
Delavan, WI
Prune out the tree that needs aerating, spear all the prunings into the drip area and pull them out and presto aerated soil. LOL Then rake all the saw chips into the holes and now you have vert mulched it as well. :ROFLMAO:
 

ATH

Well-Known Member
Location
Ohio
....

Explain for instance, how the decades long process of increased nutrient availability introduced by the biomass incorporation into soil, had no outward growth indicators on the forest. The worms didn't haul all that litter away, they incorporated it into the soil and made it bio-available.
The biomass incorporation has always been there...it just took a LOT longer. Realize forest research takes decades to centuries to understand what the impact of any change over 1 or 2 growth cycles is...then a new variable is discovered and a new trial needs to start to isolate that.

But a few distinct possibilities of why worms are a primary problem in the forests:
Remove insulation that the leaves would otherwise provide...both for temperature and moisture.
They are eating what other soil organisms (micro and macro) used to...what other relationships did those other organisms have with the trees?

Also note that most soil studies are based on an agricultural understanding. I think it is generally felt that earthworms are good for agricultural soil...so it is hard to break that paradigm to start looking at forest soils.

So how about a yard tree? Often those soils are heavily distributed - even old ag fields... so perhaps an agricultural picture of the soil is more accurate. But if it was a forested site with minimal disturbance....well, I guess that site is not relevant to the bigger topic of the threat, because they don't need decompacted...but I try to keep as much "native-like microenvironment" as possible, because we know that is where trees thrive.
 

Tom Dunlap

Here from the beginning
Administrator
@DSMc

The biologist who got this whole thing moving did his research in some old growth woods on the western edges of Minneapolis. One is a Scientific and a Natural Area that I’ve hiked.

True, worms pull dropped leaves into the soil. The bad affect is that there ends up being no leaf litter or duff to soften water erosion. The woods floor ends up as bare soil. Sheet erosion is very evident. In some cases the areas have lost 6-8” to erosion. That can’t be good for the uphill trees. The downhill trees get the soil covering their roots. Not good either

Add buckthorn to the woods and it’s a double whammy. So many of the small plants in the forest need the duff layer. These woods have no forbes or small growth. Almost a sterile environment

When I’m in those woods I think of a Shigo talking about the Dynamic Equilibrium of Nature...as opposed to the myth of Balance in Nature
 

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