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The Miracle of Earthworms

By Caryl Riedel, Colorado State University Cooperative Extension Master Gardener, Denver County

Why is my lawn so lumpy or uneven? That's one of the most commonly asked questions at Colorado State University Cooperative Extension offices each spring.

Well, if you're one of the folks with a lumpy lawn, you're lucky, indeed. Lumps mean earthworms--lots of earthworms--coming close to the surface as the soil is saturated with water.These night crawlers are of great benefits to a lawn or garden.

  • Earthworms are one of the best decomposers and utilizers of thatch in a lawn.

  • Earthworms produce nutrient-rich castings which improve soil structure and supply nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and many micro-nutrients.

  • Earthworms aerate the soil, bringing mineral-rich subsoil to the surface as they digest organic matter.

  • A 100-square-foot garden with a rich, humus soil could support twenty-five worms per cubic foot. These worms could provide more than 85 pounds of fertilizer to your soil per year!

So if you think the lumps in your lawn are a problem, take heart. You actually have one of nature's free fertilizers at work. And the next time you go to apply anything to your lawn, ask yourself first, "Is this good earthworm food?" And if the answer is no, these volunteer recyclers will leave your yard post-haste.

And, relax, the lumps will even out by summer as the worms head deeper into your soil.

Photo: Judy Sedbrook

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Date last revised: 01/05/2010