Worms are something your lawn cannot live without. It sounds perhaps a little condescending to say that but the fact of the matter is, it is true. Whether or not we like to admit it – and most people don’t like the idea of worms – they do perform a natural and valuable function.
The first thing to consider however is that there is a difference between worms and larva. Larva are the eggs of other insects such as crane flies (Daddy Long Legs), which are laid in the grass and hatch and can cause both the lawn and the gardener a lot of trouble.
Your average earthworm can deposit roughly about ten tons of soil on the surface per acre per year.
One of the first signs that you have a large community of worms active in your lawn is worm casts. These are deposits of mud left behind after the worms have finished feeding on them and are particularly visible if you have a lawn of very fine quality.
Worm casts – if left unmoved – can slow down the growth of new grass and thus allow such things as moss, weeds and fungal diseases to take hold in a similar manner to Thatch. To this end, once you have seen worm casts on your lawn it is imperative to brush them free as soon as possible. Light brushing with a sturdy brush will free the casts from the grass and they can simply be brushed away.
If the worm casts are moist however a trowel is best to remove them but it is recommended that you do remove them as soon as you can to reduce the risk of any of the aforementioned problems setting in. However you remove the worm casts you should remove them before mowing your garden, thus reducing the risk of spreading them over a greater distance.
The Benefit of Worms
That aside worms are an invaluable asset to your lawn and its development. They help aerate the lawn as they tunnel through the soil and as they digest and pass the soil through again they help build up the level of nutrients to be found in the soil, making in rich in all those elements that grass needs to survive.
Whilst the worms move through the soil, their tunnels open up channels of air, which goes a long way towards draining your soil, this helps with drainage and also, as a consequence helps reduce soil compaction.
Keeping falling leaves off the lawn is a good way to ensure that the worms stay underground and it is also advisable to steer clear of such things as bone meal as it is part of a worm’s diet.
One of the biggest culprits in the destruction of lawns and grasses are Greenfly and Aphids. These can be kept to a minimum by using pesticides or – rather surprisingly perhaps – a mixture of washing liquid and water squirted on the infected areas.
Also if you have the ability to do so planting some garlic near to your lawn is another good way of reducing their numbers as the odour repels them.