Invasive Plants…and Worms

Colin Cassin, Policy Manager at Ontario’s Invasive Species Centre was the guest speaker at the Tweed and District Horticultural June meeting. He discussed earthworms, jumping worms and other garden invasive species.

Through his power point presentation, Colin provided the members with an overview of the many invasive species in Ontario….and Ontario is the leader in Canada to have the most invasive species… 440 invasive plants, 38 forest insects, 10 tree disease and 180 non-native species!! Invasive species spread through birds, wind, people, animals, plants…almost anything.  From a financial viewpoint, it is better to stop the establishment of these invasive species before they get out of control.

It was interesting to note that of the 19 species of worms in Ontario that are invasive only 2 are not. As Colin said, “worms are small but mighty”. They can change the soil type, change what plants grow in an area and that leads to affecting the wildlife that lives there. Since most worms live underground, we do not see them, but they are there creating issues.

Jumping Worms do NOT jump; they thrash and move very quickly hence the name Jumping Worms. There has been sightings of them in the GTA, Windsor and recently in Perth (2023) They are considered an annual worm in that they hatch in the spring from their cocoon and grow to maturity by late August/September. One way to identify them is that the ring around their neck is flush with their body which is different from other worms. As Colin stated, the Centre does not have perfect handle on this species at this time.  

Colin touched on invasive plant species to be aware of when shopping at garden centres and plant sales. The issue with invasive plants is that they spread and grow in natural landscapes blocking other native plants and wildlife from growing.

Colin provided suggestions to help control invasive species…. commit to planting non-invasive species, limit the movement of plants and soil, do not accept invasive plants at local plant sales, incorporate the words “invasive” and “non-invasive” into your gardening vocabulary.

In summary, Colin said it is necessary to slow down the rate of spread of any invasive species (plant, insect, tree).  If this is not done, the effect will be devasting and costly over time.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

June 5,6,7…Tweed Fair

August 6…Pot Luck Supper…more details to follow

Meeting September 3 @ 7pm Tweed Library. Guest speaker will be Dawn Harper, owner of Oops a Daisy Flower Farm and Florist in Erinsville. She grows flowers on her farm for bouquets, special occasions and workshops.

Meeting October 1 @ 7 pm Agricultural Building at the Fairgrounds. Guest speaker will be Carson Arthur talking about “The Dirt on Dirt”. $3.00 charge for non-members.

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