Worms in lawns are a common sight for homeowners. When they appear, it often leaves the homeowner wondering if worms are good or bad for their lawn.
This blog post will answer that question by discussing what worms do and how to get them out of your lawn so that you can enjoy a healthy grassy yard without any pesky pests.
It’ll also discuss when these little critters might be helpful and how they may affect your lawn.
Let’s jump right into the first topic.
- Are Worms Good For Lawns?
- The Bad Side of Worms In lawns
- How to Get Rid of Earthworms in Lawns
- 1. Biological Control
- 2. Use of Pesticides
- 3. Manual Removal
- 4. Change the Surrounding Conditions
- Earthworm Infestation in Lawn
- Lawn Treatment for Worms
- 1. Rake the castings
- 2. Apply fertilizer on your lawn
- 3. Keep the lawn clean
- Why are there so many worms in my yard?
- 1. Soils With Neutral pH Levels
- 2. Presence of Grass Clippings and Dry Leaves
- 3. Your Soil is Very Fertile
- 4. There’s Plenty of Moisture
- Worms in Lawn Good or Bad (FAQ)
- Do worms damage lawns?
- How do I kill worms on my lawn?
- Do worms help the grass grow?
Are Worms Good For Lawns?
Worms are a vital part of the ecosystem. They break down organic material and spread it through the soil, making nutrients available to plants. Worms also play an essential role in aerating and fertilizing your lawn.
Worm castings contain valuable nutrients for plants, so if you have worms in your lawn, they’re probably fertilizing it for you
They have tiny mouths and large intestines that enable them to eat their weight in the soil every day. In addition, the worms’ constant digging breaks up compacted soil, allowing oxygen, water, and plant food to get deep inside your grass’s roots.
The Bad Side of Worms In lawns
Though worms do good things for a lawn, they have another side too. Worms compete with your grass for water and nutrients. When you have too many worms in the soil, the quality of your lawn suffers.
Worm castings (what they poop) can make the surface layer of soil too chalky, preventing air from reaching grassroots and making it difficult for plants to absorb vital nutrients. Worms also eat leaf debris that would otherwise break down into food for your grass. This causes your lawn to starve for nutrients.
Worms want soft, slightly damp soil, so if you have too many worms in your soil, they can hinder the growth of hardy grasses like Kentucky bluegrass and fescues. They also prefer acidic soils that are low in nitrogen.
How to Get Rid of Earthworms in Lawns
Worms are easy to deal with once you know where to look and what to do. It’s best to get rid of them early in the season when they’re first starting, so they don’t have a chance to overeat plant matter.
1. Biological Control
This means fighting nature with nature. For this case, you’ll have to introduce another species into your soil. For instance, you could introduce nematodes into your lawn to prey on the worms. The nematodes are microscopic, so you won’t even notice them. Nematodes kill and eat earthworms, then exit the soil and die naturally.
Another option is ladybugs. These beetles feed on soft-bodied insects and mites, which include worms. They love to dine on tiny pests, so if you release them into your lawn areas, they’ll kill off any earthworms in the soil.
You can also introduce birds to your yard. Worms are actually a favorite food of robins and blue jays, so adding these birds to your lawn will help prevent worm infestations.
Use this Bio Care Pheromones to lure lady bags to your lawn
2. Use of Pesticides
You can also use pesticides to control the population of earthworms on your lawn. Worms eat plant matter, so if you want plants to survive, you’ll have to get rid of the worms first. Many organic and chemical solutions will kill them off quickly.
Because of environmental concerns, pesticide use has been more limited in recent years. Worms are no longer perceived as enemies of the environment because they’re a vital part of nature’s food web. The best thing you can do is to get them out of your yard but not harm them in the process.
If you’d rather not use pesticides, and biological control isn’t for you either, there are other ways to get rid of worms in your lawn naturally.
3. Manual Removal
The simplest way to remove worms is by hand. Use a spade or pitchfork and toss them into the trash. Worms are hardy creatures, so you may have to repeat this process more than once before they decide to move on.
It’s crucial that you only dig up worms after it rains or when the ground is moist. Worms are less active in hot weather, so check your lawn after a warm day for signs of worm inhabitants.
4. Change the Surrounding Conditions
If you want to control where the worms live, you’ll have to change their environmental needs. Worms thrive in cool, moist places with a pH between 6 and 7. Worms do not like direct sunlight or dry soil, so if you can make your lawn conditions less favorable to them, they’ll leave voluntarily.
You can do this by mowing the lawn more frequently, using a higher nitrogen fertilizer with every application, and aerating your soil. Worms are natural creatures, so they’ll leave if you force their hand.
Keep the lawn dry and hot by watering less and installing sprinklers that suppress molds. Worms don’t like either the sun or dryness, so they’ll start looking for a different habitat to survive.
Earthworm Infestation in Lawn
There will be far more worms in the soil when there is an earthworm infestation than you might think. Worm populations can soar into thousands per square foot, which means that your grass will have to compete for nutrients and water with a large number of worms burrowing underneath it.
As mentioned earlier, this can make it difficult for your grassroots to absorb nutrients properly.
The most common sign of earthworm infestation is the appearance of castings on your lawn. Worms poop out a substance called castings that resembles black gravel. So when you find castings on your grass, it’s a sure sign that there’s an infestation.
Another way to tell if worms have settled into your lawn is by looking at the quality of your grass. Poorly maintained areas with thinning patches or patches that are covered in white mold often have an infestation.
Lawn Treatment for Worms
After an infestation occurs, you’ll need to treat the lawn to destroy any remaining worms and prevent them from returning. You need to get your lawn back to its original state.
1. Rake the castings
Although worm castings add nutrients to the soil, they can also mat down and suffocate the grass. It is imperative to rake them out whenever necessary or ensure the sink to the soil to provide the much needed nutrients for your lawn.
2. Apply fertilizer on your lawn
You can also fertilize the lawn to give it a boost and strengthen its immune system and raise the pH of the soil. This process should be repeated every year, so there’s no chance of worms returning to that area.
Worms will often stay in that spot if conditions are good, so you have to be persistent. If the worms return a year later, apply another dose of fertilizer and repeat this process once again.
3. Keep the lawn clean
It is imperative to keep the lawn clean at all times. Worms will hide under heavy leaves and other debris, so you should make sure to keep the lawn clear of objects. You can use a rake or blower to remove these items, but you also have to pick up fallen leaves accumulated throughout the autumn months.
Why are there so many worms in my yard?
Worms attack your lawn when the environmental conditions are just right. Worms will lay their eggs in moist areas and wriggle into the soil to feed on decaying organic matter.
1. Soils With Neutral pH Levels
Worms thrive in a neutral environment. They do not like acid levels, so if the pH of your lawn is too low, it will attract worms to live there. Worms also do not like high alkaline pH levels so you can prevent worm infestations by raising or lowering the pH of your soil using fertilizer or lime.
2. Presence of Grass Clippings and Dry Leaves
Grass clippings and dead leaves are excellent sources of nutrients for worms. If your lawn has plenty of this organic matter, then worms will eat this material and move in to perpetuate the cycle. Therefore, try removing these items before they have a chance to decompose.
3. Your Soil is Very Fertile
Worms will make their homes in fertile soil. They need lots of nutrients to stay alive and have healthy reproduction cycles. Worms will stay away from infertile ground because it doesn’t have enough nutrients for them to become established.
4. There’s Plenty of Moisture
Worms need moisture to survive. They won’t be happy living in dry soil because they don’t have enough water to rejuvenate themselves.
Worms in Lawn Good or Bad (FAQ)
Do worms damage lawns?
Worms will damage lawns by eating the root structure of your grass. Worms love to burrow into the earth and eat away at the roots of the grass. Also, they tend to create mounds on the surface of your lawn where they live together in large groups.
How do I kill worms on my lawn?
The best way to kill worms is by changing the environmental conditions of the soil. Worms prefer a neutral pH level of 7. They live in moist areas and don’t like high alkaline levels of over eight or low acidic levels lower than five, so you can change these conditions by changing the soil itself with fertilizer or lime.
Do worms help the grass grow?
Worm castings are a great way of improving the nutrients and moisture levels of the soil. In addition, worms aerate your lawn, which improves its health by supplying it with needed nutrients.
Worms in lawns can be either good or bad depending on the conditions of your soil. They are good for the lawn as they aerate your soil and provide a natural way to combat fungus. Worm castings also have nutrient-rich properties that help cultivate your lawn.
However, worms can damage your yard by eating away at its roots, but you should be proactive about keeping them out of moist spots where they could thrive if given a chance. One great way to get rid of worms is through changing pH levels or fertilizing the lawn with nitrogen-based fertilizer.