sod and wireworms

Peter Worsley pwors at
Tue Jul 11 11:13:47 EDT 2000

I've had terrible problems with wireworms, especially in potatoes. I'm
farming on former dairy pasture. My advice would be to get the grass
out, by tilling, if necessary, and then plant cover crops (buckwheat in
summer, all-legume green manure mix in winter). The wireworm population
will gradually decline over a period of 3 or 4 years due to frequent
tilling and absence of grass roots, which they feed on. Solarizing your
soil after tilling with black plastic might help, also. Peter

Nancy Haycock wrote:
> When I started this year, someone advised me NOT to till up all the
> sod in my field for beds, but instead to leave the sod between the
> beds intact, and then mow that with a lawnmower. They said that this
> would help prevent erosion, and be easier to manage then tilling up
> the whole area.  I did that, but have discovered quite a number of
> wireworms in my beds.
> Now I am wondering if I shouldn't backtrack, and till up the grass
> between my beds. (maybe planting clover or some other cover to attract
> beneficials)
> My first question is, do you think this would help get rid of the
> wireworms (in other words, are the wireworms likely to travel from the
> sod into my beds?).  I would prefer to tackle the problem now, rather
> than in a couple of years. On the other hand, am I just creating work
> for myself??
> Second, IF I am going to till up the sod in September, would putting
> black plastic down now kill the sod by then? My sod is incredibly
> difficult to work with because the hay field has not been tilled or
> disked in at least 30 years (just hayed), and there is this orange
> woody root (like wire) that runs through it. I think maybe this orange
> woody root might be vetch, but I'm not sure.
> Thanks for any thoughts.
> Nancy

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