What are these husks that are red brown and collect under the soil in “nests” ?

Asked April 7, 2019, 9:15 PM EDT

What are these and are they OK for my garden? In preparing my garden I found some “nests” under the mulch and soil in several locations... are these husks from cocoons of worms or insects? are they seed pods? are they a type of fungus? are they nodules from roots (of clover?). The master gardeners at Brookside had no clue. They are reddish brown and this photo can be zoomed so you can see the hole at one end of the football shape. They occur inbatches which this photo does not show well. However you can see several of the capsule skins....I am trying to attach the photo. The daffodil leaves may help provide scale. The capsule is the size of a tic tac. Thank you.

Montgomery County Maryland miscellaneous normal growth

3 Responses

These brown objects look to us like some type of plant debris, possibly the bud covers from a nearby tree. Do you have trees or shrubs nearby/above that have something similar to these?


If you zoom in you can see a small circular hole at one end... I found a video online showing earthworms emerging from cocoons which look a great deal like these....and I found them in groups of maybe50 just below the surface ... the image I sent you does not accurately show them as I found them. Thoughts? Earthworm cocoons?

These definitely look like bud scales, possibly from a poplar or cottonwood tree. They will decompose naturally in the soil.