If you spend a lot of time in your garden you may have noticed a few frogs or toads that have made themselves at home. While this may cause come concern at first, this is actually a great sign! Frogs and toads are extremely beneficial in the garden and they even provide effective pest control services.
If you are hoping to employ the services of these natural pest controllers, you are in luck as frogs and toads are very common across the U.S.
If you are hoping to employ the services of these natural pest controllers, you are in luck as frogs and toads are very common across the U.S. This means that no matter where you live, you will probably be able to attract these amphibians to your garden.
Are you curious about which frogs may help your garden flourish or how to attract them? Keep reading!
Three frogs that will help your garden grow
Frogs are amphibians that are members of the order Anura. This large, diverse group of animals prefer damp environments and will make themselves right at home in your garden if given the right conditions. Frogs are a welcome guest for any garden as they provide some helpful benefits.
Adult frogs and toads are considered carnivores that feast primarily on insects and they can serve as a means of pest control in your garden. In fact, a single frog can eat over 10,000 insects during a seasoning of gardening. They will happily eat caterpillars, beetles, moths and even slugs. Insects and slugs would normally be harmful for a garden, but with the aid of frogs and toads, you will not have to rely on other pesticides to get rid of them. Since these amphibians do not eat plants, the rest of your garden will be completely safe.
What frogs and toads you hope to attract to your garden will depend on where you live. Hot environments in states like Arizona will have very different species of amphibians than colder, northern states like Montana. The first step to finding which frogs can help out in your garden is to find out which species live in your area. This can be done with some research through the internet or a field guide to local species. While the exact species you may see will vary, there are a few that are common across North America and will make a great addition to your garden ecosystem.
One common species of frog that will help your garden thrive are leopard frogs. These frogs are members of the genus Lithobates and are usually green or brown with darker spots covering their entire bodies and limbs. The various species of leopard frogs can be found across the entire United States and species like the Northern leopard frog (Lithobates pipiens) even extend far into Canada. They are usually found in shallow freshwater environments like wetlands or streams.
Gray tree frogs
Gray tree frogs, of the genus Hyla, are also common throughout the eastern United States and north as far as Canada. They are a small species that rarely exceeds two inches in length and are mottled gray in color with very large toes that they use to climb. An arboreal species, they prefer damp forests. In contrast, green frogs of the genus Rana can be identified by their bright brownish green color with a lighter underbelly. These frogs range across North America and they are found in habitats including ponds, lakes, bogs, rivers and even swamps.
One of the most common amphibians in the United States is actually not a frog but a toad. Thankfully toads provide all of the same benefits for your garden that frogs do and the American toad (Anaxyrus americanus) will likely appear in your backyard at some point if you live in central or eastern North America. These toads have the same general body plan as frogs, but the most visible feature that differentiates them is their skin. Toads have much bumpier skin than frogs, which led to the myth that toads will give you warts. Thankfully this is completely untrue and attracting toads to your garden will only give you a natural form of pest control and not warts. This species like wet environments but can also be found in more terrestrial habitats like parks, fields, prairies, farmland and even backyards as long as there is a nearby water source. These species, while very common in the U.S, are just a few of the many species of frogs and toads found in North America and you should always research the species in your specific area.
How to attract frogs to your garden
Now that you may be more interested in attracting frogs and toads to your garden, the next step is knowing how to attract them. While habitat preferences can vary greatly based on species, one thing that most frogs and toads have in common is that they prefer damp environments. Their sensitive skin is permeable and needs to be kept moist. Amphibians also require water to breed and will seek out pools of water to lay their eggs.
If you are wanting to attract frogs or toads to your garden, one of the best things you can do is provide a water source. While a large pond or pool would no doubt attract these amphibians, your water source doesn’t have to be that large. Even a few pots or bowls placed around your garden and filled up consistently can be enough to attract frogs and toads.
The permeable skin that keeps amphibians close to water also makes them very sensitive to chemicals. This means that to create a healthy, safe environment in your garden for frogs, you will need to stop using chemicals. This includes synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides. These can be very harmful for frogs and toads and can even kill them if they come into contact with it.
Lastly, to attract these amphibians to your garden, you should provide lots of shelter for them to hang out in and feel safe. You can easily create shady shelters with stones, upside-down flowerpots, or thick vegetation. While these tips work well generally, identifying which species live in your area and what their habitat preferences are can help you target the changes you need to make in your garden to attract frogs and toads. For example, if you are trying to attract tree dwelling species like gray tree frogs, planting trees in your garden can help create suitable habitat.
Frequently asked questions
Are frogs good to have around my garden?
Frogs and toads are great to have around your garden! These amphibians pose no danger to your plants as they are strict carnivores that only eat other animals. Not only do they not pose a threat, they can actually help keep your garden safe. Frogs and toads serve as a great pest control and will eat many different insects that actually do pose a threat to your garden.
What do frogs eat in your garden?
What frogs and toads eat in your garden depends on the species but generally they will eat insects like beetles, caterpillars, grasshoppers, slugs, flies, and moths. They have also been known to eat other small creatures like worms and spiders. Some species can even eat small snakes!
The perfect gardening companion
Frogs and toads are the perfect addition for maintaining a healthy garden. These amphibians help ensure that pest species don’t damage your garden and since they are carnivores, they will also not eat your plants. Which species that may help your garden will depend heavily on where you live, but there are a few common frogs and toads that you may see in your area.
If you are looking to attract frogs and toads to your garden, providing a moist area and lots of water that is readily available is important. You should also strive to stay away from any chemicals like pesticides, herbicides and non-natural fertilizers. Lastly, ensuring that there are plenty of shady places for these animals to hide will make your garden an amphibian paradise.
What is your favorite frog? Let us know!