Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Earthworms and Soil
Name: Aswin
Status: other
Age: 30s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 2000-2001


Question:
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.


Replies:
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.

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


Click here to return to the Zoology Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (help@newton.dep.anl.gov), or at Argonne's Educational Programs

NEWTON AND ASK A SCIENTIST
Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory