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Name: Aswin
Status: other
Age: 30s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 2000-2001

Lawn and Earthworms:

I think my soil is somewhat compacted. Instead of aerating my lawn conventionally, I would like to buy and use earthworms instead. I read that the "nightcrawlers" worms are deep-burrowers. They build large, vertical, permanent burrows that extend 5 to 6 feet deep or more. Other earthworms such as (redworms, grayworms, fishworms, etc) only work the top 12 inches of soil.

My fist thought was the deeper the better so I thought the nightcrawlers should be used. But then I also read that these nightcrawlers (unlike other earthworms) they construct middens over the mouth of their burrows thus leaving a surface residue. I don't know how big or small so I'm concern with the appearance.

I wonder if you can give advice as to what I should do. A) forget the worms and aerate using a machine B) use other shallow-dwelling worms that don't leave any residue or C) go ahead and try the nightcrawlers worms.

Hi Aswin,

Grass roots generally don't run very deep, so unless you have a severe drainage problem or want to help your trees deeper burrows won't make much of a difference. I would go with shallow worms first. If you get your lawn chemically treated (insecticides, herbicides) you might want to ask what they do to the worms; I would think in general the less treatment, the better off they'll do, even if your lawn might not be putting green perfect.

Donald Yee Ph.D.
San Francisco Estuary Institute
180 Richmond Field Station,
1325 South 46th St. Richmond, CA 94804

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