The worm is in here

The worm is in here

Christoph boger

for some it sounds like a funny provincial joke. The responsible persons of the FC coburg can not laugh about it though. The place in the dr. Stocke stadium is in such a bad condition that it is being considered not to play soccer there at all from now on. This was confirmed by deputy chairman alexander pietsch in response to a question from the tageblatt newspaper.
The reason is this time however not the dream game. There are also hardly any problems due to the weather, and there is no overload at the wiesenstrabe anyway. No, in the stadium rather the worms are loose. And a million times over!

The devil is in the details

And that’s where the devil is in the details – or rather in the turf: the creepy-crawlies, which at first glance seem harmless, have meanwhile taken up so much of the playing field that the goal hunt will soon be over.
The problem is as follows: countless earthworms pile up small fresh balls of earth night after night, bringing numerous irregularities to the "green carpet" that was cut to exactly 2.2 centimeters for the bavarian stars just weeks ago. In damp conditions the field becomes extremely slippery.

Blind, deaf, dumb creeper

Against such an opponent every defense has a hard time. And this despite the fact that earthworms are blind, deaf and dumb. They can even only crawl. Lumbricidae, as earthworms are known in specialist circles, do not even have a well-trained or specially shaped body. On the contrary: they are just a line in the landscape – but that is currently triggering a heated discussion, and not only at FC coburg. While people tend to smile about this topic at the regulars’ tables for soccer, sooner or later coburg’s city politicians will certainly have to deal seriously with the worms. The experts from the grunflachenamt are already in the testing phase.
According to pietsch, those responsible at FC coburg – who also run the junior training center with a good 250 children – are now going on the offensive and want to put an end to the worms. Naturally, one is dependent on the help of the city.
After relegation from the national league, the third-placed team in the district league is doing well again in sporting terms, but the (un)popular home ground is simply full of worms at the moment. On a clayey, deep and soft layer the ball does not roll.

Problem also on other courts

But it seems that the worms do not only feel at home in the city center, they also find ideal conditions for their clandestine worming activities on other sports fields in the region. Especially at night, they pull plant material from the soil surface into their living tubes. This is processed during the passage through the digestive tract to cothumus and excreted in small heaps mostly at the openings of the ducts.
Something similar is probably also happening on the lawn at the back of the flobanger, which is only a stone’s throw away, although the worm excrement and thus the annoyance of those responsible is limited there. A player from scheuerfeld also knows the worm problem: "we have them in the sixteen as well".
But at the city’s facility, the problem is undoubtedly the worst and has been known for about two years "but lately it has become worse and worse", female a district league player of the FCC. It is no longer possible to play football properly, the worms have undermined the pitch too much. They leave behind piles of excrement the size of a pin, but similar in effect to a cow patty. "It’s really no fun playing on it anymore".
Elimination of the infestation is associated with high effort and high costs. There have always been and still are possibilities and well-intentioned pieces of advice. According to experts, a layer of sand would only provide short-term relief.
Force the worms to the surface with electric current? A pitchfork is stuck into the ground, connected to a car battery and off goes the worm. With this method some fishermen catch their worms. The creepy crawlies are supposed to come shooting out of the earth like nothing. Electrification of a football field is strongly discouraged, and it is forbidden to collect worms with electricity, because it has already cost the lives of anglers.
So what to do? Maybe they grab the worms at night when they come to the surface voluntarily? A proven remedy, especially if it has rained beforehand. Experts know that in this case the worms must not be directly illuminated, because otherwise they will quickly disappear back into their hole.

Sand, electricity, chemicals

Chemical agents that cause a kind of skin rash in the earthworms after all? In coburg, it is probably the so-called dew worm, a type of earthworm that undermines sports fields in this way. But this is hardly possible with the controversial and in some cases no longer approved chemicals, because the dew worm digs its tunnels up to three meters deep into the substrate.
Little hope therefore for a final solution. Now good advice is expensive in coburg. As a last resort, the pitch could be completely demolished and rebuilt – certainly a costly affair. It is little consolation for all concerned that the reddish-pale earthworm, which can be up to 30 centimeters long, is considered to be an indicator of good soil with low levels of pollutants.

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