Sunday, January 04, 2009
The Insanity of Killing Earthworms -- 1945
From the 1945 book "1001 Garden Questions Answered" by Alfred Carl Hottes, Professor of Horticulture at Ohio State University and technical advisor for Better Homes and Gardens magazine. The book consists of his answers to questions sent in by readers of Better Homes & Gardens. Below is my favorite:
"Earthworms have made my lawn a mass of bumps and holes. How can these be killed? -- H.K.S., Ohio.
While earthworms are slightly beneficial in lawns by transposing soil to the deeper layers, they are also a nuisance because they throw up piles of earth. Sprinkle infested ground with solution of corrosive sublimate (bichloride of mercury). Dissolve 3 ounces of corrosive sublimate in a quart or two of hot water and add to 50 gallons of water which should be sprinkled on the infested ground, using one or two gallons to the square yard. After applying, thoroughly water the treated area. Corrosive sublimate powder dissolves readily in hot water. This material acts on metal, and if such must be used, do not let stand in such container. If a sprinkling can is used to apply this solution, do not delay in thoroughly washing after using. Use care in handling corrosive sublimate as it is very poisonous."
UPDATE: Since I wrote this I have discovered there are a large number of U.S. Americans who still believe that earthworms are a menace to their yard and must be killed and poisoned with extreme prejudice. Sad.