soft soil dueto earthworms

josh843August 6, 2013

Hell all! Let me start by say in this is first post so I'm not sure I this is even on the right topic. OK I purchased a house Las Dec. In SC. It is in a "wet area" as I'm.abot 2-3 hundred yards from a river. I have experienced problems this year with wet and soggy conditions due to the amount of rain we have had. Were like over 15 inches normal for this time of year. I had had brown patch in early summer/late fall. And am just getting over that and now I have a horrible earthworm problem and it is in a concentrated area. I know some people will say to leave them be, and that they are benifical to the lawn. But it is k lawn and I have done a lot to make the lawn come from where it was to where it is now. And they are ruining the area they are. At first I thought it was mole crickets so I did the lemon soap soak test, and no mole crickets, plus I have been treating for insects. When I did the soap soak all that came out was works, no nymphs or and otherole crickets. Upon further research I found the cause to be worms. I want to know if anyone had had this problem and what they did to solve it. With the already soggy prone soil they are turning the affected area to pure mud. And I want them gone. I can manage without how ever beneficial they are. Here are some pics some of the area where they are and the others O the area not affected. Thanks and once again sorry if this is on the wrong area.

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josh843

Another picture close up with the mounds they leave

    Bookmark   August 6, 2013 at 6:23PM
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josh843

Another broader picture of affected area

    Bookmark   August 6, 2013 at 6:25PM
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josh843

Another broader picture of affected area

    Bookmark   August 6, 2013 at 6:26PM
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josh843

Picture of unaffected area (previously had brown patch)

    Bookmark   August 6, 2013 at 6:28PM
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glib(5.5)

This may not be the right forum for your query. Look for a "poisons and environmental degradation" forum, if not, start it. Also,
1) not driving on the lawn helps, and
2) when the worms are gone, the drainage will become much worse.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2013 at 9:56AM
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glib(5.5)

This may not be the right forum for your query. Look for a "poisons and environmental degradation" forum, if not, start it. Also,
1) not driving on the lawn helps, and
2) when the worms are gone, the drainage will become much worse.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2013 at 10:01AM
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glib(5.5)

This may not be the right forum for your query. Look for a "poisons and environmental degradation" forum, if not, start it. Also,
1) not driving on the lawn helps, and
2) when the worms are gone, the drainage will become much worse.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2013 at 10:02AM
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toxcrusadr(Zone 6a - MO)

I was going to suggest the same thing, don't mow it when it's wet as that will create as much of a mud problem as the worms.

Mostly we try to encourage worms so I don't have any suggestions for getting rid of them, except to get some chickens. I'm only half kidding, but from the pics it looks like that is probably not an option in your neighborhood.

I assume these are large night crawlers, so you could go out at night with a light and catch them on the surface. Collect them and put them in your neighbor's yard. :-]

    Bookmark   August 7, 2013 at 10:37AM
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luckygal(3b)

A quick google search found this link.

Here is a link that might be useful: How to get rid of earthworms in your lawn

    Bookmark   August 7, 2013 at 10:51AM
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josh843

The thin is is it wasn't wet when I mowed the other day the unaffected area was dry, just the area where they are was wet and boggy. Haha yea I don't have an hoat I still think the chickens would be frowned upon, and the mess they bring. I really want to get rid of them as they are a food source for moles and they are the last thing I want to deal with.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2013 at 11:10AM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

The earthworms are not the cause of your wet soil, although due to that wet soil they may well be coming to the surface to breath. I would suspect that you have a high water table.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2013 at 11:25AM
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josh843

I probably do have a high water table being as close as I am to the river, but the area where the problem is is the highest point in the from years and even a the lowest point by the switch the ground is nowhere near as wet or soft, its only where the worms are. Neither of my neighbors have worms or spots like this, know for a fact that the worms are causing this,i wasn't even an issue about a weeks ago, first I noticed the ground was getting a little soift in that area then like a week after that I noticed the worm casings which I first thought to be mole crickets then learned it to be worms, not its to the point where I almost got stuck cutting the grass on my mower. All I want to know is how to get rid of worms, not what else it might/could be, besides even if for some reason its not the worms causing it I still want them gone since they are a primary food source of moles. Thanks guys

    Bookmark   August 7, 2013 at 2:58PM
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Lloyd

Don't golf courses use something to keep earthworms off of the greens?

Lloyd

    Bookmark   August 7, 2013 at 3:08PM
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uscjusto

Repost this on the lawn forum. Those guys are great.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2013 at 5:07PM
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art_1(10 CA)

I second the suggestion to try the lawn forum. The worms might be visible/abundant because the soil is moist. In other words they are there because of the wet soil, not causing it. Drying the soil will reduce the visible worms, reducing the worms will not dry the soil. But if the lawn is wet it's wet, not sure what you can do about that besides installing some kind of drainage but that might not be possible/practical for a large yard.

Whereas my Soil, Compost and Mulch mantra might be:
'Mow high, water infrequently if at all, and avoid all chemicals, poisons and environmental degradation, lawns are a huge waste and serve no purpose.'

Lawn care people might say:
'Mow to 1/4 inch on Monday, water and fertilize on Tuesday, edge and manicure on Wednesday, spray with weed killer on Thursday, mow again on Friday, repeat.'

    Bookmark   August 7, 2013 at 9:59PM
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uscjusto

Actually the lawn care folks would say the same thing except that they love their lawns and they are not a huge waste.

But they generally like to mow high, water deeply and infrequently, and go organic as much as possible.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2013 at 3:11AM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

The relation ofr a water table, where the ground water is in relation to the soil surface, does not depend that much on how far one is from a body of water. I am 18 miles inland from Lake Michigan and 1 - 1/2 miles away from the nearest inland lake and where the water table is here depends as much on the season as anything. In the spring I have some low spots that are 4 plus inches below the high water table and right now some of those low spots have water within an inch of the surface. I have some of the highest land for some distance with the house located on the highest ground so the cellar is dry, year around, while other places lower than the cellar floor might have standing water due to the high water table.
Find and talk with the people at your local office of the Natural Resources Conservation Service, formerly the Soil Conservation Service, since they most likely will have maps that provide the information you need.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2013 at 6:38AM
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josh843

Thanks for all the help guys,t does anyone here know how to kill earthworms, that's all I want to do, just kill em, I don't want to talk to anyone at m local office about water tables, this was not even a slight issue until I started noticing the worm casings then and only then did the wet soil condition appear. I just want to kill some earthworms,

    Bookmark   August 8, 2013 at 7:14AM
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feijoas(New Zealand)

" I just want to kill some earthworms"
My eyes, my eyes, they're bleeding!

    Bookmark   August 8, 2013 at 8:28AM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

I understand you just want to know how to kill earthworms, but that may not solve your problem.

You said "i wasn't even an issue about a weeks ago, first I noticed the ground was getting a little soift in that area then like a week after that I noticed the worm casings". Your photos show that this area is right adjacent to the house. Have you investigated to see if there is a leak from the plumbing?

What happens if you dig in that mulch right next to the foundation? If you have a plumbing leak this could be a lot more serious than boggy lawn.

Claire

    Bookmark   August 8, 2013 at 10:28AM
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toxcrusadr(Zone 6a - MO)

I was thinking a water leak also. If you have a water leak, just killing the worms would be treating the symptom rather than the problem.

I know something about groundwater, and what you have here is a very localized condition that has little to do with anything very far away. Rainwater percolates through soil and runs downhill (both below the surface and on top of it) simultaneously. The type of soil, compaction, where the water is coming from, the slope and other factors all play a role.

If you've had a LOT of rain, you might have a spot where there is a different kind of soil or it's not compacted the same. Or you have a downspout coming off the house that's making it very wet here.

But I have to wonder how a spot at the top of the slope is muddy while it's not down by the curb.

Did the worms cause the mud, or did the moist conditions draw the worms?

    Bookmark   August 8, 2013 at 10:42AM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

The soil is soft due to excess water, not to the worms.

Said differently, the underlying problem is the excess soil water.

Fix the leak and/or drainage and the worms won't be a "problem."

Kill the worms and you will have continued wet problems.

This post was edited by jean001a on Thu, Aug 8, 13 at 13:54

    Bookmark   August 8, 2013 at 1:52PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Do you have another close-up photo of the area next to and including the foundation of the house?

I edited one of the photos you posted to show more detail.

It looks like there is some sort of fixture on the wall of the house just behind that plant. Is this a hose bibb/faucet for a hose connection? If so, is this leaking and soaking the soil (the leak could be either inside or outside the masonry)?

Claire

This post was edited by claire on Thu, Aug 8, 13 at 14:44

    Bookmark   August 8, 2013 at 2:42PM
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west9491(6)

Wow, that is a small concentrated soggy spot.
Do you have a water meter that you can check to see if water is flowing, even though all the spigots are shut off?

    Bookmark   August 9, 2013 at 2:19PM
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nil13(z21 L.A., CA (Mt. Washington))

I think we are having a correlation/causation problem here. Yes, the worms appear abundant where the ground is soggy but they don't cause the ground to be soggy. Killing the worms will do absolutely nothing. They are coming to the surface to breathe and get out of the soggy ground. You need to figure out the cause of the isolated sogginess.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2013 at 9:20PM
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wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

Yes, fix the plumbing leak.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2013 at 10:12PM
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livelydirt(Zn 4, Lively, ON)

Two possibilities come to mind.

1. Is there municipal plumbing running under or near the area. Could be water or sewer.

2. Is it possible that you are experiencing some sort of artesian well or new spring developing? Using a thermometer to check the soil temps at a consistent depth around your yard might help ID the water source. Spring water is very cold.

I agree with others. The worms are not your problem. If anything, they might be your friends, aerating the soil to allow some of the water to escape down to the subsoil.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2013 at 10:03AM
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toxcrusadr(Zone 6a - MO)

Another way of saying the worms aren't causing this is that water will not generally move upward toward the surface in a normal situation. In other words the worm holes will not make water move uphill to the surface!

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 11:58AM
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wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

But a water leak in the water supply line from the street to the house will act just like the pictured situation. Usually the leak is under the wettest area..

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 1:52PM
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toxcrusadr(Zone 6a - MO)

Yes indeed. One wonders where the water main and the meter are located. My mom had a similar situation, turned out the leak was nearly under the house (slab on grade construction).

Seems like we lost the OP, I hope s/he comes back to let us know.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 10:54AM
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josh843

Killed worms and grass/ground is nice and dry even after rain we've had. no leaks,meter not moving and pressure hold when pressure tested in house,(used to be a plumber) any who thanks for all the help on how to get rid of the worms!

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 11:49AM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Sounds great, how did you kill the eathworms?

Claire

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 5:12PM
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josh843

Like this

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 5:40PM
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JonCraig(6b)

Sevin would've done it cheaper. ;-)

EDIT: For the record, I'd never intentionally kill worms. Was just sayin' Carbaryl would have done it for $3 instead of the Bayer for $15.

This post was edited by JonCraig on Wed, Aug 14, 13 at 20:20

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 10:49PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Can you post a photo showing the area that is now dry after you applied the Bayer's product?

Claire

    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 12:26PM
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toxcrusadr(Zone 6a - MO)

Well, that shoots holes in all my theories.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 2:54PM
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wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

Well, the original poster is going through his first lawn season at that place. I have a lawn area that in the spring gets soft and leaves a bit of muddy tracks if mown a day after heavy spring rains. I am aware that this will pass later in the season. Perhaps this situation is seasonal too....and the op will not 'rattle' us with the problem.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 3:08PM
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jolj(7b/8a)

To say Killing earthworms on this form is like saying to First graders I just want to kill puppies.
Show me any proof that the earth worms caused the water.
One web site or study, just one.
I raised earthworms for fish bait as a teen & they Do not cause water problems.
I am here in South Carolina & your problem is not the worms.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 7:17PM
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jolj(7b/8a)

To say Killing earthworms on this form is like saying to First graders I just want to kill puppies.
Show me any proof that the earth worms caused the water.
One web site or study, just one.
I raised earthworms for fish bait as a teen & they Do not cause water problems.
I am here in South Carolina & your problem is not the worms.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 7:18PM
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nc_crn

Earthworms won't cause the water problem.

However they will surface in huge amounts if an area is too wet.

The water caused the worms to burrow up and surface which caused the turf issues.

Given there's probably a high water table where OP is at, the worms went up to escape the water rather than going deeper.

If the drainage/slope/leak/whatever issue isn't taken care of, this issue will probably resurface...especially given how much worms seem to like that part of the world if there were that many worms able to surface in the first place.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 7:42PM
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toxcrusadr(Zone 6a - MO)

Either we're wrong, or josh is going to find out eventually that there is another explanation.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 1:43PM
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wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

For my lower area I wait a day or two before mowing soggy sod....I don't like the muddy tracks.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 3:01PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

On August 8, the OP was still asking for information on how to kill earthworms.

On August 13, he said "Killed worms and grass/ground is nice and dry even after rain we've had. no leaks,meter not moving and pressure hold when pressure tested in house,(used to be a plumber)...".

He says he applied a Bayer product containing imidacloprid and another compound. According to the picture this is a concentrate, which means it had to be diluted for application. So he added a liquid to the soggy area which killed insects and worms and within five days everything is "nice and dry" even after it rained.

This doesn't make sense to me. He made the area wetter and then it rained but somehow the absence of worms removed the water. I asked him to post a photo of the area which is supposedly now dry but he hasn't done that yet.

I'm still skeptical about his story. I would at least like to see a photo confirming that the problem has now gone away, whatever the reason.

Claire

This post was edited by claire on Thu, Aug 15, 13 at 17:22

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 5:10PM
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PKponder TX(7b)

Oh my gosh! He killed the earthworms because his soil was soggy?

I guess 15 people telling him that earthworms will not cause this issue was just not enough. It almost makes you wonder if he was just a bored troll trying to enrage those of us who encourage worms, hmmm :-)

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 8:50PM
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jim1961 Zone 6a Central Pa.

Holy crap! :-O

    Bookmark   August 16, 2013 at 11:13AM
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josh843

Actually you prick I came here for advice because every time I have a question I Google it and 9 out of 10 times this site is one of the top answers and the people on here seem genuinely nice and intelligent, butthenthere are people on here like you calling me a troll. I asked a question on here looking for an informative answer. Here's theproof,after three straight days of rain the only standing water is from the rut the mower left the first time. No more soggy soil and no more worm casings.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2013 at 11:31AM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Thanks for posting the photo, josh843. I still don't understand why it worked but it does look like the problem has been solved, or alleviated for now.

Claire

    Bookmark   August 16, 2013 at 12:20PM
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toxcrusadr(Zone 6a - MO)

Lighten up man, don't take the interweb so personally.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2013 at 5:28PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Actually, I've been impressed with how civilized the forum has been on this thread. I was expecting lots of loud voices and table thumping but people have mostly been very calm and reasonable even when disagreeing with the original premise. Kudos.

Claire

    Bookmark   August 17, 2013 at 9:43AM
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Alwayzbgrateful(8)

Thats nice and dry?? Hmmmm??? Lol , sorry couldn't resist!!!!
Josh, chill its ok, from all your previous posts they, do come off, a tad hostile, at least IMHO. Everyone from what I can see has given their best effort in helping you resolve your issue. Even if it wasnt what you were expecting. (Question "How do I kill worms?" Answer "poison the crap outta ur lawn") If you really think about everyones response, you should be grateful so many people went out of their way to give away freely their knowledge and experience. I hope your problem doesn't come back in the yrs to come and those poor worms saw u come home w/ that "stuff" and ran far far away!
;-)

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 4:21AM
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TXEB(9a)

Well, josh, you had two problems - worm mess and soggy soil. I'll be the first to agree that an excess of earthworms can create a real mess. It appears you resolved the worm mess. But, your after pic makes it clear that you still have the soggy soil issue. So now you have just one problem.

That may be the nature of the beast due to persistent rainfall coupled with the local terrain and grade on your lot, assuming you don't have any water system leaks, either plumbing or irrigation related.

With the soggy soil and your mower you have another problem in the works, and that is soil compaction. From the ruts evident in all of your pics, it is also clear that running that robust (and probably heavy) mower over the saturated soil is leading to compaction. When the rains abate, which at some point they will, you should welcome the return of the earthworms. They are your best and cheapest solution for compacted soil.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 6:07AM
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toxcrusadr(Zone 6a - MO)

I wouldn't mow when it's that wet, unless it's spring and it's growing like crazy and HAS to be mowed. That means 6" high or more in my book. I'd rather let it look shaggy for a few days than compact the clay. YMMV.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 12:23PM
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lisascenic Urban Gardener, Oakland CA

You know what's loads of fun, when you're sick with stomach nasties?

Reading old gardening threads, like this one!

Priceless.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2013 at 5:38PM
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toxcrusadr(Zone 6a - MO)

The Interweb is a wild and crazy place, but I never expected anyone to be called a prick in a thread about worms on a gardening forum! LOL

    Bookmark   November 19, 2013 at 10:58AM
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c6-zr1

Josh is the water from your down spouts ending up collecting in that wet area? worms are forced to the surface after a heavy rain (hence worms on the side walk). Your lawn looks great but the water puddling on your lawn is collecting beside your house and if you concentrate on that reason youll solve that problem, IMHO it has zero to do with worms. I love a nice lawn like yours with no weeds and it looks like your neighbors also maintain

weed free lawns also.

good luck with your problem.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2013 at 5:28AM
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