Frogscaping is creating habitat for native frogs and toads in your garden. Having frogs and toads in the garden might sound undesirable to the average person. But did you know that their presence is a sign of a healthy and balanced ecosystem? Plus, they can be extremely beneficial to the home gardener. Frogs and toads are an effective way to naturally control insect pests in your garden. Beetles, caterpillars, grasshoppers, snails, slugs, and other plant damaging insects are all staples of the amphibian diet.
Attracting and retaining frogs and toads in the garden is easy:
Create a water source. Water is the number one attracting element for amphibians. While many species of frogs prefer to live by ponds and larger bodies of water, toads and tree frogs only need deep water for reproductive purposes. The rest of their lives they only need moist hiding spots and a shallow source of water to keep them hydrated. They don’t drink water with their mouths like other animals. They hydrate by sitting in water and absorbing it. A bird bath in the shade will work for tree frogs. Toads need a source of water closer to the ground. A saucer or bowl can make a simple watering hole. Surround the water source with vegetation. Tree frogs and toads prefer to hide close to their water source.
Create cover. Most frogs and toads are nocturnal and need some shelter during the day to escape the heat and prevent dehydration. They prefer to seek cover in moist, shady areas that are thick with foliage. It is also important for them to have shelter from predators. This can be accomplished by burying a terracotta pot on it side, or stacking a few stones into a cave to create a toad house.
Minimize your use of chemicals. Avoid using pesticides and herbicides in your garden. Amphibian skin is thin and permeable. The ability to absorb moisture through their skin also makes them extremely sensitive to toxins in the environment. Alternatives to using chemicals in the garden include using compost to fertilize and feed your plants. For weed control, try using natural mulches or corn gluten. If you must use something for pest control, consider Bt, neem, or insecticidal soap, all of which are considered safe to use around amphibians.
Minimize disturbances. Frogs and toads are secretive animals and prefer to be left alone. Constant disturbance from children and pets is likely to scare them away.
Statistics show that a single toad can consume up to 10,000 insect pests in a season. By attracting frogs and toads to the garden you can let nature handle the bugs and allow you to enjoy the garden.
Make Your Own Toad Home – Follow this link to the Houston Arboretum website on how to make a Toad Abode, a place to provide protection for our reptile friends.