7

Living in suburbia I rarely see any frogs, but I understand that creating a small but unpolluted pond in my backyard is likely to provide a desirable habitat if there are any frogs in the general area.

Given the lack of suitable habitat for frogs nearby, it is something I'd like to consider.

Would the addition of frogs to my backyard ecology make any difference to the sustainability of my yard and success of my vegetable/flower gardens?

  • How exactly is this related to sustainability? – THelper Apr 11 '13 at 21:21
  • @THelper, that's a good question; part of sustainability involves preserving ecosystems, and some species of frogs are at risk of extinction due to habitat loss. I don't even know what difference they make to an ecosystem, hence the question. It's probably as much ontopic in gardening.SE as here, the way I've phrased it. – Highly Irregular Apr 11 '13 at 22:59
  • I would suggest broadening this generally to include yard and household impacts and adding the magic words of "sustainability" so there is no doubt. – Chris Travers Apr 12 '13 at 10:40
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One important aspect of frogs regarding gardens and every other aspect of living is important: they eat insects. Having a good variety of insectavores around limits the amount of control needed for other insect control. One note is that they will eat predatory insects like dragonflies as well so that is a small mark against them. However seeing them as control for other insect pests, such as destructive moths.

I suppose if you are trying to raise grasshopper meat frogs might get in the way, but otherwise generally their use as pest control (not only for garden pests but also various insects which are pests around the home!) would be generally positive.

It is worth noting however, that most of the time your primary pollinators are also insects and could be threatened by frogs. So one possible negative impact you might find is that if you don't have many other pests, you might see a drop in productivity of plants if the pollinators are eaten.

On the whole though predators are an important aspect of any permacultural garden regarding pest control, and in general if you are having trouble with sufficient polinators, planting to attract more is better than eliminating predators.

  • 2
    According to an article I read (and a Google search mostly backs up the article), frogs also eat slugs. So if anyone has a problem with slugs attacking your flowers and vegetables, then having some frogs could help. – Ciaran McHale Apr 16 '13 at 18:56
  • What varitiy plantings: @Chris Travers, are needed to attract the additional polinators? My goal is native perenial for a temporate zone. – JimBo Jun 10 '15 at 6:56
3

Effects on gardens I can't say much on. But I can tell you about one extremely important aspect of frogs that MUST be considered in suburbia. If you want to know what this issue is without reading my context setting and almost :-) relevant preamble, skip to the heading "Cut to the chase ..." below.

I live in suburbia in a 1/4 acre jungle "just off" Auckland City. (ie people think that I live at a residential address in a residential street but I really live in a semi jungle :-) ).

We have what was an above ground concrete swimming pool about 35 feet x 15 feet, but for many years it's been a home for such wild ducks that wish to visit, or top stay and raise families. We probably get 5 to 15 new families of (wild) ducklings per year. Mallards seem to have claimed the property as their own. We get very rarely a Grey Heron (sorry guy, fish are all gone) and a steady trickle of NZ native birds (Tui, Piwakawaka, occasional Kereru.) But, I (almost) digress :-).

And, we have two small goldfish and "lily" ponds. The lilies and goldfish are long gone, victims of the ducks. But we get frogs. Big noisy ones. I don't know how they got here or how they found us. But they seem to like what they have found. During the winter months there is no sign of them. Where they go to and/or how they hide I know not. But, sometime in the spring as the days lengthen and the nights warm, suddenly they are there.

Cut to the chase ... How do I know? You can't miss them.
"Braaaaaaaach. Braaaaaach. Braaaaaaaach.
... pause ...
wough wough wough wough wough.
... Answer in kind by another frog, or if not, a longer pause.
Then repeat.
Ad infinitum.
Ad nauseum.
Ad all night longeum.
Loud!
Very very loud.
Very.

They do not bother me. I like the sound.
I can sleep through almost anything and can roll over and go back to sleep in 5 minutes if woken. My wife can't. Our bedroom is at the front of a largish house. The frog pond is at the rear and then some 30 feet further back again. For the last two years at least they have moved slightly further away again, into the "duck pond" / swimming pool. STILL VERY loud. Still wife waking. They are closer to the neighbours. Pretty grim on occasion, I'm told. Odds are that they may have to go. Quite how you catch large fairly invisible deep pool enshrined frogs I know not. But, I may yet have to find out.

If I had a vegetable garden instead of a jungle I'd expect that the frogs would be of at least minor benefit and unlikely to be harmful. The jungle does not seem to mind at all.

.

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