Presenter: Sean Morrow from;
One Earth Landscaping http://www.oneearthlandscaping.com.au/
Frog Ponds and Habitat Creation in your Garden
By creating frog ponds in your garden you are improving biodiversity, strengthening native frog numbers, introducing many other insect species and helping to create natural balance. Remember the more native frogs you have in your garden the less of a bug problem you will have!
Creating frog ponds is easy and cheap. Here's a few tips:
- Chose a half sunny/shady spot out of the prevailing wind. Tank over flows or seasonal water courses are great.
- Stock up on rocks, logs, and strappy plants like, spider lilies, Lomandra grass, Bromiliads, Vetiver grass, Helaconias, Gingers, ground covers like Seaside daisy and small bushes like Lilly Pillys.
- Choose the type of vessel for your location. Old bath tubs work well elevated and built up with rocks, old Laundry tubs, old tanks, plastic ponds, or dug into position and lined with a black plastic pond liner or other black sheet plastic.
- If you are using town water you must let it stand for two days before introducing any fish or tadpoles. This lets the chlorine gas of, otherwise it will kill your tadpoles and fish.
These are good habitats for sedge frogs who can jump very high and tree frog species. They are also naturally cane toad proof if you leave the sides bare. Silicone a plug in and fill it up with rain water, or town water and leave it for a day or two. Put some rocks, old bricks and logs around the edges to allow hunting and hiding spaces for frogs. Plant thickly with strappy plants around the edge for visual appeal, to create shade and to entice other insects to your pond for frogs to feed on.
Choose an appropriately shady/sunny spot and dig your hole. Ideally it should be a depth of about 600mm in the middle to avoid excessive algae growth. Use old carpet underlay, or 2 layers of old carpet to line your hole, this will stop punctures from invading grass and tree roots. Lay your black plastic, use 3 layers of normal plastic, or pond liner plastic. Be careful not to step on it, use a plank over your pond to help with this. You can then carefully sit in the middle of your pond and place rocks around the pond walls up to the lip of the pond. Use sand or river stones from the bottom of the pond. Cut the edge of the liner to the shape of your pond, you shouldn't be able to see any plastic. Sunlight will cause more rapid deterioration of your pond liner. Place logs around the edge of the pond and mulch up to the liner/rocks. Plant your strappy, bushy and ground cover plants around your pond and fill it up. You should have frogs within a week or so!
Trouble shooting Mosquito's and Cane Toads:
- Use a pump to move the surface of the water if you find you have a mosquito problem, but nature should find her balance. Native frogs feed on mosquito lave.
- Keep cane toads out of your pond by protecting your pond with thickly planted strappy grasses or a 600mm high sheer barrier (cane toads can't jump as high as native frogs).
- Cane toad eggs are laid in long strings (pull them out of the pond and leave them in the sun to kill them off). Cane toads are toxic at every stage of life including eggs, so be careful of pets and wildlife.
- Native frogs eggs are clumping not stringy.
- Native tadpoles are irregular shapes and often multi colours. They are also translucent.
- Cane Toadpoles are perfectly round, jet black and solid colour.
- Experiment with your grey water run off for ponds.
- Avoid introducing fish to your ponds until your tadpoles are at least 1 inch, otherwise you will be providing high protein fish food!
- Birds and insects are more active when the moon is in an air sign of the Zodiac calendar.
- Weeds are an essential part of your habitat for bugs that birds and frogs prey on. It's OK to have a few patches of weeds!
- If you are introducing tadpoles, you may feed them with algae, ot steamed lettuce, silverbeet or papaya. Do not feed them with fish food.
- You need to allow at least 1L of water per tadpole to prevent them from eating each other!
Happy gardening and enjoy those lovely croaking frogs in the evening!
Next meeting: Tuesday 4th September.