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New study shows invasive jumping worms pose threats to growing plants in Willamette Valley

Reports of invasive jumping worms have been found up and down the Willamette Valley from Grants Pass up to Pendleton.

Posted: Jul 3, 2021 11:57 PM
Updated: Jul 3, 2021 11:59 PM

CORVALLIS, Ore.--- A new study from Oregon State University shows the growing threats of invasive jumping worms in the Willamette Valley.

Professor Samuel Chan is an associate professor at OSU and a stateside watershed health and aquatic invasive species specialist. Chan said unlike beneficial earthworms and nightcrawlers that burrow deep tunnels in the soil and release nutrients as they go, these jumping worms stay in the debris on top and eat two to three times the amount of leaf litter as other worms.

Chan also said that growing climate concerns on top of these jumping worms could be detrimental for growing plants and trees in the Willamette Valley.

"With the drought we're experiencing and the recent high temperatures, there would basically be an impact to the growth of plants and in some cases, even cause the death of plants," Chan said.

Jumping worms in Oregon were first reported in 2016. Sincce then, they've expanded with a different species of them found in at least six other counties in oregon. 

To help decrease the spread of jumping worms, Chan said to shake off the roots of plants when sharing of buying plants and buy bareroot plants when possible. He also recommends to never share compost, mulch, soil or plants that contain a known infestation.

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