Earthworm Casts

  • Whastsapp

Causal organism: 
3 major species most closely associated with casting:
Lumbricus terrestris
Apporectodea caliginosa
Apporectodea longa

Earthworm casts
Host Grass Types
All turf types
Some species of earthworms leave casts on the turf surface and this can have a negative impact on the performance and quality of the turf (unevenness, deterioration under traffic, weed invasion, mole activity)

Background information

  • Earthworms have an important role in helping to aerate soils, reducing compaction, improving water penetration and infiltration rates, processing organic matter and reducing thatch
  • Earthworms come to the surface under moist soil conditions (e.g. in late autumn and winter) and retreat downward in dry weather
  • Earthworm casting is increased: if grass clippings are returned, or when organic fertilizers are used, in case of liming or using of alkaline water for irrigation

Management strategy to reduce the likelihood of attack

  • Reduce thatch in programmed approach to minimise food source for earthworms
  • Minimal use of organic amendments
  • Lower soil surface pH to discourage earthworm activity by using acidifying fertilizers
  • Minimise amount of clippings returned to soil (organic material) by use of slow release fertilizers and/or Plant Growth Regulators
  • Use sand top dressings to help create casts that scatter and disperse
  • Brush or switch to disperse casts when dry

Preventative Strategy (Guidance Only)