Ask a Gardener – Nightcrawlers and Earthworms

Tuesday May 24, 2016

What can be done about nightcrawlers as my lawn has gotten so lumpy? – Pat

This is one of those rare “too much of a good thing” occasions in gardening. Of course we all know that earthworms and nightcralwers are beneficial, but too many can dig large mounds of soil, leaving the lawn uneven and lumpy. The trick is to balance the good with the bad. Here are some easy, non-invasive ways to smooth the lawn without loosing all the benefits of the worms.

Aerate Twice a Year Aerating the lawn has tons of benefits. It breaks up clay, improves nutrient and water flow and helps smooth and level the lawn. We recommend aerating the lawn twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall
Use a Lawn Roller Lawn Rollers have a large weighted drum that is rolled over the surface of the lawn to flatten out any lumps and even out the surface. Lawn rollers can sometimes cause soil compaction, so be sure to aerate right after you roll.
Top Dress Spreading a light layer of organic compost over the lawn can also help. We would recommend Colorado’s Choice B.O.S.S. or another organic compost mix. The CSU Extension Office recommends you ”spread ½ to 1 inch of material on the lawn and rake it into the grass canopy; repeat every 1-2 weeks, until surface is level.”
Reduce Watering Earthworms prefer moist soil, so reducing your water or giving the lawn time to dry out between waterings can slow down their activity.
Encourage Natural Predators Wild birds love snacking on big juicy worms, so invite them to the yard to do some pro bono pest control. Bird feeders, bird baths, bird houses and lots of trees and shrubs create a welcoming environment for our feathered friends.