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Best Practices for Sharing Plants to Stop the Spread of Invasive Species

jumping worm

Only accept plants...

  • From gardeners that have looked for jumping worms 
  • That don't come from an area known to have jumping worms.
  • If there is no evidence (like soil that resembles coffee grounds) to suspect there are jumping worms at the site that produced these plants/materials.

Use these practices to prevent their spread:

  • Remove soil from all plants before transporting them
    • This limits the spread of weeds and worms by removing most earthworm egg cases or weed seeds.
  • Wash roots
    • Completely submerge plant roots in water and wash away remaining soil.
    • Actively look for worms.
    • Once clean, protect roots for transportation and sale. 
    • Water is enough to remove soil and other materials from the roots.
  • Sell bare-root plants when possible.
  • Repot with clean potting soil 
    • If plants must be sold in soil, repot with sterile potting soil. 
    • The best way to ensure clean soil is to purchase, from a reputable dealer, bagged and weed and pathogen-free potting soil.
  • Inspect mulch for signs of jumping worms
    • Do not use mulch, backyard compost, leaves, or other material that may harbor jumping worm eggs or weed seeds. 
    • Purchase materials from a reliable source.  
    • Consider waiting to add materials to the garden to determine if signs of jumping worms develop 
  • Reduce chances of contamination
    • Gather and transport plants ready for sale on surfaces like concrete, tarps, or trays where the newly potted plants cannot pick up contaminated soil, leaves, or mulch.
    • Thoroughly clean garden tools and shoes after use.

Learn more about jumping worms in this blog post.

Learn more about Illinois invasive species