Worms love to eat grass and grass clippings! Although worms do not eat grass above the surface of the soil, they do munch their way through the ‘thatch’ layer beneath the grass and just above the soil.
This activity is actually beneficial in order for grass to survive and to flourish, as well as being good for the earthworms themselves.
Working through the layer known as the ‘thatch’ helps regenerate the fresh shoots on the surface, whilst clearing debris from beneath.
Healthy lawns and grassy areas are usually evidence of busy worms working beneath the surface! Getting into worm composting and wondering about what worms eat?
Keep reading to find out if our earthworm friends are fans of the green stuff and how feeding them grass is beneficial.
Can worms eat grass clippings?
Yes, worms eat grass clippings and they are often encouraged to do so.
Gardeners who compost clippings understand and appreciate the value in this activity.
If you have a worm bin of your own, you’ll already know the benefits of keeping scraps of grass clippings around for bedding and worm feed.
Even outside of a worm bin, worms are going to love feeding on your grass clippings.
Sometimes spreading the clippings out gives worms better access to a wider range of clippings without the material becoming too soggy, when it tends to clog together, especially during and after rainy periods.
Most people who are interested in gardening in general, or the finer points of worm composting, know that worms largely come out in wet weather.
It appears to be easier for them to move along with the lubrication of water and smooth leaf surfaces, or indeed in wet soil.
Drenched soil may cause worms some discomfort and potentially harm, but nice moist clippings and other organic matter are great for worm communities in the composting process!
Using grass clippings in your own worm bin and garden
Gardeners and farmers who use compost bin or worm bin systems sometimes ‘turn over’ the matter in the bin with a tool such as a garden fork, in order to refresh the matter within.
This ensures that some space is created between the leaves.
Progress with your worm composting can be seen if worms can work their way through the material. Mixing the contents of the bin makes this easier for the worms.
With this in mind, compost tumblers are now commonly used and have been found to enhance the composting process, by turning over the matter, as mentioned above. This can be a real haven for the average worm.
To further improve the quality of the compost other material, including organic matter, is added.
This can include materials such as moist cardboard ( ideally not too thick or in large pieces, as the cardboard is best ripped up before being mixed in with clippings ), other leaves and vegetation.
Another method of using grass clippings for worms to process is by spreading your grass on the surfaces of patches of land on which you intend to cultivate or develop, for example on allotments, in kitchen gardens or newly prepared flower beds.
This can be done on existing flower beds with well-established plants and flowers, but weaving new material around established stems and stalks can be tricky and not so easy to manage.
Nonetheless, the soil quality can be improved this way and some gardeners and farmers feel that this method saves time, as they are not removing the composted material from bins and carrying it to its destination.
How worms and grass can help make compost – even without a worm bin
For gardeners with no compost bin or specific worm bin, it may be preferable to leave the clippings in a composting pile.
On a cautionary note, if you do decide to spread clippings this way, do remember to ‘turn over’ the matter with a fork, as if it were in a bin, and try not to spread it too thickly or put too much in one spot!
In the event of rain, you don’t want it to produce a soggy mass that will clog up the surface.
Grass clippings are known to provide worms with food packed with the nitrogen-rich nutrients they thrive on.
In turn, gardeners and farmers are rewarded with useful, virtually expense-free and valuable worm castings and composting to use in their gardens.
This recycling method has been known and used for centuries, long before compost has been collected and bagged up on a large scale, to be sold in garden centres.
Can worms destroy a lawn?
Yes, worms can destroy a lawn. However, it will probably take some time before earthworms eat through all of that organic matter.
Although worms can be very beneficial to your lawn, they can also just as easily destroy it if there are too many by creating ‘mounds’.
These mounds can be considered as small ‘factories’ containing concentrated levels of nutrients produced by the worms and in effect, the levels of nutrients are too intense and the result is referred to as ‘burning’ the grass.
Gardeners and farmers may first notice areas of an uneven lawn if worm destruction is rife.
This can vary from small raised areas to some sizable mounds with spaces appearing, creating ‘bald’ patches.
Grass can appear to be sparse, and in some cases, areas become completely void of growth. Signs of this destruction can also be seen when grass shoots appear to go yellow, brown or grey, and die off.
When worms cause this sort of destruction, there are certain simple remedies available such as troweling or raking over the area.
In doing this, it can refresh the zone and redistribute the concentrated nutrients to the surrounding area.
Maintaining lawns to avoid worm damage is not difficult.
It is good practice to remove grass clippings and rake occasionally, as well as aerating the lawn with a spikey tool, usually most effective with a ‘roller’.
Collecting grass clippings and composting continues the recycling life in your garden.
Successfully managed lawns can give pleasure to us for years and help your working worm population to thrive!
So – do worms eat grass clippings? Absolutely – they love them!
Grass clippings make up just one worm diet staple. Why not start adding grass to your own worm bin?
Earthworms, on the whole, thrive best when they have a variety of organic food to feed on. They need a good mix of soil, grass and other natural materials.
Want to get the best out of your composting bin? It might be time to serve your worms some tasty grass feed.
If you would like to know more about worms’ food and what you need for the best composting experience, take a look at our guide on earthworms and soil, too.