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New small pond for frogs/toads

Every year our garden seems to experience a slug and snail epidemic, I've used pellets for years with very limited success (within one night can have as many as 50+ slug corpses in 1 square foot of pelleted soil and an awful ugly slimy mess) I don't want to be having to do that on a nightly basis at great cost to local wildlife so am installing a small pond (due to our small garden it will only be about 4x4 foot) will this be big enough to attract enough frogs/toads to make any difference at all to the slug population? Perhaps if I use pond in combination with nematodes? Any advice or personal experience would be appreciated, thanks in advance.

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  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 49,148

    It'll certainly attract frogs/toads but  if you have huge numbers of molluscs it might take a while to get the balance. I had a pond that sort of size in a previous garden and we did get some frogs, but I think it's a combination of things. Encouraging other wildlife will make a difference. We had lots of thrushes and blackbirds there which I'm trying to encourage here as they are good predators. I didn't grow lots of 'susceptible' plants either which definitely helps, and that won't suit everyone, but my  hostas were certainly in better condition than they are in this new garden!  I lived in a property with a huge pond a few years ago and the hostas were immaculate - we had masses of frogs and toads.

    I think the very mild winter last year didn't help - slugs seemed to multiply overnight image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 33,318

    I totally agree with fairygirl. To encourage blackbirds , which are ground feeders, sprinkle " suet treats" around the garden to get then to forrage about, finding slugs and snails as they do. 

     

    Devon.
  • Thanks for the advice, I feared the pond alone wouldn't be enough, we do have a bird feeder (which is one reason why I don't want poisoned slugs littering the borders) but it seems to attract mainly wood pigeons and magpies, hopefully access to a water supply will help attract more birds and I have some medium sized rocks to decorate the pond which hopefully will provide a place for blackbirds to use to break snail shells. The place where the pond will be going was home to an oversized rambling rose which I'm using the large trunk and branches of to create a wood pile which might hopefully be used by hedgehogs and toads to hibernate so they'll be there ready for spring to help with the slugs, I guess it's just a constant battle and I need all the ammunition I can get.

  • Victoria SpongeVictoria Sponge WearsidePosts: 3,467

    I have a similar size pond, constant gardener and this year, two years after making it I had frogs in the pond. I have a habitat area around the pond for shelter when they are not in the water and I made a 'wildlife walk' along one fence so creatures can transit through safely- my garden is small and suburban so I can't let it run wild.

    I also have visiting hedgehogs, I leave the gate open, have a log pile and put out food.

    I'd try and do something to your feeder to put off the magpies and pigeons and attract the smaller types. Maybe a ground feeder with a cage? I do the same as Hostafan and chuck suet sprinkles in the undergrowth. It has worked as I now find empty snail shells which I never did before, thanks to a visiting thrush.

    Things do still get eaten, occasionally completely destroyed but I don't make any attempt to control the slugs/snails other than what I've said above.

    Good luck with the pond- maybe share a photo when it's done?image 

  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,576

    I have quite a large gardenand a large pond dug for drainage.  It has lots of frogs and toads and even visiting duck and resident hedgehogs but I still have a slug problem.

    I suggest you switch to wildlife friendly slug pellets which don't leave slimy messes and corpses all over the place.  I start sprinkling thinly on Valentine's Day around susceptible plants such as hostas, clematis and hemerocallis and repeat thins catterings each wek throughout teh spring and early summer.  

    This means you get them as they emerge form hibernation or hatch from eggs and before they can feed or breed.   I don't do blanket scatterings as some slugs are essential for recycling decaying matter but I don't want the ones that eat my treasures to get the upper hand.

     

     

    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 11,391

    With a slug population that large I think your idea of using nematodes is a good one.  Those are completely natural and exist in small numbers in the soil anyway.  Perhaps your garden has low numbers of natural slug predators in general, so it's worth trying all of the suggestions here.  Frogs and toads are not a panacea against slugs but they will eat a few of the smaller ones each night so a pond can only help.  For snails you do need to try and attract thrushes and hedgehogs.

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • Singing GardenerSinging Gardener EssexPosts: 1,214

    I'm doing exactly the same and for the same reasons. I put in a mini-pond (well, really a glorified washing up bowl) last spring and did get one frog who took up residence during the hot weather but plan to dig a proper small pond soon.

    I've also tried to give up using slug pellets and did find nematodes worked well this year but they're quite expensive. I noticed a new anti-slug spray product from Grazers in one of my recent gardening catalogues and I'm planning to try it next year. It claims to be safe for wildlife but I've no idea how effective it is. I've used their anti-rabbit spray before and that seemed to be quite useful.

  • YviestevieYviestevie Kingswinford, West MidlandsPosts: 6,899

    I get a lot of birds in the back garden including quite a few blackbirds, I never really thought about them eating snails but it does make sense.  I have very few snails in the back garden and don't get that many slugs.  I do use slug pellets at the start of the season when the perennials start coming through, but don't need to use them the rest of the year.  The front garden is a different matter altogether. I get hundreds of snails out there and usually control by popping out on damp evenings and collecting them up manually.

    Hi from Kingswinford in the West Midlands
  • When I moved into my present house 19 years ago the outline of an old pond was visible in the back garden but it had been filled in.  Nevertheless, at the end of March each year it was overrun by frogs for a couple of weeks despite there being no water.  In 2001 I dug it out, lined it and installed a waterfall and pump.  Word clearly went round and in March 2002 there was hardly space for the frogs to move, so many visited.  I can almost set my calendar each year by the date they all return despite the vagaries of the weather. For two weeks it's like a music festival then whoosh; they all disappear back into the undergrowth leaving huge deposits of spawn.  The benefit is the almost total lack of slugs in the surrounding garden area compared to the front garden which is laid to lawn with surrounding borders and needs slug control measures.  I have been using pellets but until reading this hadn't appreciated that this could be harmful to the birds which flock to my feeding station so I'll now change to scattering suet sprinkles instead.  I have a resident fox but have never seen any hedgehogs.  How can I attract them?  Good luck with your pond constant gardener, hopefully you'll be amazed next March by froggie visitors.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 82,270

    Info about encouraging hedgehogs here http://www.hedgehogstreet.org/

    image

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







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