Have a vegetable garden? Then you should hopefully have earthworms. A lot of earthworms. You may already know earthworms are the great transformers of landscape, but there's another reason why you should want them in your garden: turns out if you have earthworms you're less likely to see damage inflicted by...
Slugs — with their appetite for leafy shrubs, bulbs, tubers, and plant roots — are a gardener's nightmare. However, according to a recent study in BMC Ecology as reported by Smithsonian, earthworms working the garden soil can actually help protect plants from being eaten by slugs. In fact, the "mere presence of earthworms" reduced the number of plant leaves damaged by slugs by 60 percent.
There are two possible explanations for this, explains lead study author Johann Zaller:
Firstly, earthworms improved the plant’s ability to protect itself against slugs perhaps through the build-up of nitrogen-containing toxic compounds. Secondly, even though these slugs are generalists, they prefer widely available food. [As a result, in highly diverse ecosystems] slugs eat less in total because they have to switch their diets more often since plants of the same species are less available.
Interesting! You can read more about the study and its results below:
Read More → Earthworms in Your Garden May Help Prevent Invasive Slugs from Devouring Plants | Smithsonian