Peg and I recently talked to Master Gardeners at the annual state meeting held in Eureka Springs. All Gardeners can do a lot to help save the Earth’s biodiversity and frogs and toads in particular. Over 40% of the world’s amphibians are currently at risk of extinction due, in part, to pollution.
Actions Master Gardeners and others can take
- Plant natives - avoid imported plants which may out-compete local species and become invasive. In addition, pollinators may be disrupted by the imports. Native species will thrive with less care than imports. One invasive to avoid is Bradford Pear Trees.
- Avoid Chemicals - Pesticides, Herbicides, and chemical Fertilizers all end up washing downstream into rivers and eventually the Gulf of Mexico. Every year there is a 5,000 square mile dead zone along the shorelines of Louisiana and Texas from gardener’s use of chemicals that wash down the Mississippi River. Frogs and toads like fresh water environments! This website has natural alternatives for weed and bug control: http://www.gardensalive.com/
- Build a Pond - “If you build it, they will come.” There are lots of good articles on the internet for building a frog pond. Check out http://www.savethefrogs.org/ponds Frogs and toads will find your pond in short order. The tadpoles will eat any algae buildup and the adults will eat any mosquito larvae.
- Place a Toad House - You can get a fancy one as pictured or just turn over an old terracotta pot and knock out an entrance. Your toad will stay there during the day and may hibernate there in the winter. Be sure to place your “toad abode” under some shady foliage and make sure the bottom is open so Mr. Toad can absorb moisture through his stomach in contact with the ground.
Gardeners and Master Gardeners can have a direct impact on whether frogs and toads make it through the current mass extinction by making intelligent choices in their gardening practices.