Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Invasive Worms

Nonative earth worms are probably what I have outside. There are different color worms out there: red ones, like the ones vermicomposters sell, brown ones and there are some huge ones that I haven’t identified that I have tentatively labeled native. I have seen foot longers in the compost pile as well as near my neighbor’s arborvitae. Perhaps they like the soil that arborvitae make. Arborvitae are most certainly are not native and have roots that go everywhere, worms might like that. I speculate on everything about those big worms, they are a beige color, not notable, but must be old to get so large.

My top soil was brought in, replaced when the house was built in 1963. I have a patch work of soil types. Clay is the type that was here in these bottom lands by the river when it was a farm, before it was a subdivision.

We have many reasons why it would be hard to figure out just what was here before this place was farm. There are maps of presettlement times but they are not nearly as detailed as google earth.

When the builders came in to make subdivisions, they tore down all the trees, started from scratch. That is what they did in the 60’s and mostly what they do now.

There are some old trees down by the creek, my neighbor who know about such things says my cottonwood is over 100 years old. That cottonwood is the next in line to fall over. All the large trees upstream between the cottonwood and the dam have fallen. When the creek rises, as it does in heavy rains because of all of the housing starts and impervious surfaces, etc. upstream we get a lot of water and heavy currents. Old trees hold each other up, their roots intertwine, they help each other with wind currents. The dam at the golf course may have something to do with the tree casualties we have experienced streamside in recent years, but I finger the development upstream.

It is said that after about 20 years after a subdivision is built, an ecosystem begins to sort itself out. I have taken walks around 60 year old neighborhoods and enjoy the trees and the spirit of the place.

Lawns everywhere are mostly still considered beautiful if they don’t have what are called weeds. It is rare to find a lawn where the keeper doesn’t use weed killer and fertilizer even in those 60 year old neighborhoods. Heavy petrol inputs are weed killer and fertilizer. I prefer a few other species besides grass in my lawns.

Large oaks and a beech grow over on a street near me. I’m guessing when the homesteads were built that the thoughtful home owners told the builders to leave the trees. I am grateful for the large oaks and the beech, and thank those early conservationists.

(I don’t get the hang of beech nuts. I have been told that they are quite tasty when chewed. As in beech nut gum, I’m guessing)

First on my worry list is not nonative worms, here on my city lot. Still, I wonder about invasive worms.


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