If you have seen mud balls in your yard you may have been wondering where they came from and what caused them. They come from earthworms in your lawn and are actually a good thing. But they can cause problems too.
When you have a nice population of earthworms in your soil you can get little piles of dirt in the soil. These mud balls accumulate on top of the turf and come from earthworms crawling through the night before. They are the castings they leave behind as the tunnel through the soil.
You will probably notice them the most in Autumn and Spring. The soil is the perfect condition for them during that time of year. You want earthworms in the soil because they are naturally aerating the soil as they tunnel through. But they can also be slimy too. The earthworm leaves behind a slimy substance from their stomach.
This means the mud balls can end up being smeared on the grass as you mow the lawn or play on the grass. This can make your lawn very slippery and muddy. It also creates an environment where weeds can take hold. But there is something you can do to help.
Sir Walter Buffalo grass has fewer problems with mud balls then some other kinds of turf. You don’t want to get rid of the worms since they do help to keep your lawn healthy. But there are some things you can do to keep mud balls at a minimum.
Don’t leave grass clippings or leaves lay on the ground. Rake them up or use a catcher on the mower. Earthworms love decaying material like this and they eat it. Also make sure you have adequate drainage on the lawn. Don’t water a lot during the rainy season. Earthworms thrive in a damp environment.
You can also sweep the casts off of your lawn. You can use a rake, a stiff broom or even a cane rake made of bamboo. This takes care of small areas of mud balls. Don’t do this when they are wet; make sure the mud balls are dry before trying that.
A lawn that is healthy has a lot of earthworms. They make nitrogen that can be used by plants. It only takes 5 or so earthworms per square foot to provide 25% of the nitrogen your lawn needs. They also help with breaking down thatch.
When it is dryer the worms go deeper into the earth. They continue aerating the lawn and will only pop back up when the soil is wet enough. So while you want to take precautions on keeping your lawn from being slippery you don’t want to get rid of the friendly little earthworm.
To get more advice call our team on (07) 3114 8281. You can also to pop in and order in person at our sales office on 1/243 Bradman Street, Acacia Ridge. The office opens Monday to Friday 7am to 5pm and Saturday 7am to 12pm.
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