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Britain has about eight to ten species of earthworms that are likely to be found in gardens. They vary in size and colour, but all have a role to play in creating good soil structure and fertility.
Soil casts from earthworms (Allolobophora sp. These can be a nuisance, particularly when they are smeared with a mower. Allow them to dry and brush them away before mowing.
Earthworms are a familiar sight to gardeners and are useful in maintaing healthy garden soils;
Find out more about earthworms and participate in earthworm research at Earthworm Watch and the Earthworm Society of Britain (links to external websites)
Some earthworm species live in accumulations of organic matter, such as compost heaps. One such species is Eisenia fetida (brandling or tiger worm), recognisable by its stripy appearance, another is Dendrobaena veneta. These are the species most commonly used in wormeries, as their feeding activities speed up the composting process.
Worm casts consist of soil and waste excreted by the worms as they feed on organic matter. Worm casts can be a nuisance on lawns and gravel paths.
This year the Wild About Gardens campaign, run jointly by the RHS and The Wildlife Trusts, is gearing gardeners up to go wild for worms. Learn how to encourage earthworms in your garden and download your free earthworm pack from the Wild About Gardens website.
Chafer grubs in lawnsCompostingEarthworm Society of BritainEarthworm Watch citizen science surveyLeatherjackets MillipedesSoil typesSoil cultivationWorm casts in lawnsWorm composting
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