ESTIMATING SPECIES RICHNESS OF EARTHWORMS ON GOLF COURSES AND IMPLICATIONS FOR INNOVATING ENVIRONMENTALLY BENIGN CONTROL METHODS
The relationships between earthworm activity and the physicochemical environment have been extensively studied but rarely applied in the context of golf courses. An understanding of the ecology of earthworms on golf courses is important when considering the development and application of strategies for controlling earthworms in course management. A study of earthworm community structure on golf course fairways indicated a positive strong relationship between surface casting activity and the diversity of the earthworm population (p < 0.01). Using the findings of a survey conducted over two years on five UK golf courses, predictions of earthworm species diversity were made for the different play surfaces found on these courses. Significant differences in these estimates between the different play surfaces were demonstrated (p < 0.05). This analysis showed play surfaces at a range of geographically discrete golf courses supported similar levels of species diversity, with the greens of all courses supporting a significantly reduced community diversity compared to the tees and fairways. This analysis, and other investigations relating to earthworm species abundance and distribution in relation to soil physicochemical parameters, suggests that new directions in research for environmentally benign control methods are required. Earthworms are too adaptive to be significantly affected by contemporary chemical-free management techniques.
Bartlett, M.D., James, I.T., Harris, J.A. and Ritz, K. 2008. ESTIMATING SPECIES RICHNESS OF EARTHWORMS ON GOLF COURSES AND IMPLICATIONS FOR INNOVATING ENVIRONMENTALLY BENIGN CONTROL METHODS. Acta Hort. (ISHS) 783:475-480
golf courses, earthworms, species diversity, earthworm control strategies