Gibson Priest

Gibson Priest

“What is digging in my yard?”

The age-old question that extension agents get. In some cases, the holes in your yard could be dug by the local dog that is simply retrieving the bone he put there for safe keeping. Other times it might be a raccoon or opossum digging for insects to make a meal out of.

However, recently I have had several calls about small piles of granulated soil that look like ant hills, but no ants. This is caused by earthworms.

The granular soil piles that you are seeing are castings from the earthworms. Castings are the result of soil being passed through the worm’s body and expelled, somewhat like feces.

These castings are very beneficial to the soil as they are nutrient rich and usually the soil is from a few inches down below the root line where nutrients have not been absorbed. Also, the earthworms do a good job at aerating the soil so that the clay in our area stays somewhat less compacted.

In some cases the earth worms can bring up so many castings that they cover the turf on your lawn. In these cases, simply wet the area and the soil will settle. Earthworms are very prevalent in moist loose soil. If you are watering your lawn, try and only allow 3/4 of an inch of water at a time and only water twice per week.

If your yard is exceptionally dry, check to see if there is any moisture a few inches deep in the topsoil. If not, you can water more often.

In conclusion, if you are noticing holes in your yard, I would recommend getting a cheap game camera to put and see what is in your yard at night.

If you have any questions regarding rodent management, you are welcome to contact the extension office at 770-749-2142 or email

For more information and details on upcoming events, check out the Polk County Extension office on Facebook by searching “UGA Extension Polk County.”

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