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Encouraging Toads in Your Garden

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 20 Feb 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Gardening Plants Gardening Tips Toad

Gardening has a habit of encouraging many different species into the garden but attracting toads is not something that would seem to be very appealing to most gardeners. However, there are advantages to encouraging toads into your garden and there are numerous gardening tips to encourage them to do so.

Benefits Of Toads In The Garden

Toads thrive on insects and they can eat literally thousands. Therefore, they are a very useful alternative to using gardening pesticides to protect your vegetables or if you are a keen organic gardener. But how do you get them to come into your garden? Well, firstly, it’s important to draw the distinction between ‘letting’ them come into your garden and ‘bringing’ them in from outside. You should never remove toads (or any other creatures for that matter) from their own natural habitat. Instead, if you want to encourage toads into your garden, the way to do it is to create the right kind of environment for them. Trees, rocks and logs are obvious attractions to toads because they'll offer moisture.

Building A Pond To Attract Toads To Your Garden

Toads are amphibious creatures which mean that they live on land and in water. Water and moisture are essential for toads so the obvious way to attract them to your garden is to install a pond. Unlike frogs, however, some of which will spend winter deep underwater, a pond specifically designed to attract toads need only be shallow as they spend the winter on land and only need shallow water for when it’s the breeding season.

Surrounding Your Pond

In addition to the pond, you need to make sure that it’s easy for a toad to get into and out of it and you also need to pay attention to the surrounding vegetation. Good gardening tips to ensure that you plant the correct vegetation and plants is to visit a nearby local wetland to find out what is growing there. After all, this is where the toads are likely to have come from in the first place.

The thing to remember is to ensure that toads always have access to moisture when you're gardening. This is especially important in the summer months where a toad will smell out the nearest moist patch and will burrow down into the cool, moist earth in order to protect its body. Therefore, placing logs, rocks and plants around your pond and garden under which toads can seek out moisture and refuge from the sun, will create an ideal environment to attract toads.

You could also create your own ‘toad home’ when gardening by digging a hole in the earth in a shaded area of your garden, ideally close to the shade from trees and then place a plastic plant pot over the top of it. Into that, you could periodically put in some well-rotted leaves which you’ve left soaking in water and then put a small rock over the top to keep the pot in place. This would make an ideal refuge for toads. The pot should have a hole in the top so that, in extremely hot weather, you can pour in some cold water now and again to keep the ground below moist. You can also buy actual toad houses instead of using a plant pot. Letting part of your garden grow a little wild which will create piles of leaves and other foliage will also offer sanctuary to toads. However, it’s also important to remember to be very careful when gardening if you’re mowing the garden and to ensure that you do not mow those areas beneath which a toad may be resting.

So, before you start shuddering at the thought of having toads in your garden, just remember that it’s not only insects they keep at bay but they’ll also eat even more unwelcome pests such as slugs, snails and mosquitoes which has to be a far healthier alternative to using pesticides.

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ps. the planters are about 24 ins high, linked with small platforms, have log 'ladders' etc. from ground level to the top. most of the planters have a covering of mini-bark mulch. Forgot to mention that the pools are only 4 ins deep but have some dwarf pond plants in. I'm struggling to find the space to add a deeper pool as we have a small dog and the wife wants some yard left. I have a small wildflower planter and a small planter with grass & moss (boggy area). There is a large shed with some access underneath. I have some roof tiles that I will sit on stones/small logs/leaf/bark mulch on a gravel bed in the next few days. I believe all this will make an ideal environment for wildlife despite the yard being enclosed by a solid 6 ft wood fence with limited access.
Froggy - 20-Feb-17 @ 8:27 PM
When I was I used to go looking for frogs, toads, tadpoles, newts, it was great fun. I remember dropping a box of around 50 or so baby frogs on the bus much to the annoyance of the only other passenger (who's response was a very indignant 'I beg your pardon', the bus driver just said 'Don't worry, they'll get cleaned out back at the depot'). Now in my retirement I'm determined to create a wildlife friendly area. As I don't have a garden I have made some wooden planters for fruit plants and am currently adding small 'frog pools' and creating a suitable habitat with moss, logs & stones etc. I live a long way away from any natural 'amphibian environment' and there are no gardens with ponds nearby. The only access to the yard in under the gate. I know amphibians can get through small gaps and have read they can 'smell' suitable living/breeding places. I'm also trying to attract house martins, butterflies, solitary bees & ladybugs (the wife isn't keen but isn't stopping me either lol). The log pile is almost finished so the next bit is the rainwater collection system for pool top ups etc. Even planting roses to encourage greenfly (not that they need much encouragement). A leaf & hessian sack damp area is the next project, to be kept moist by the shade of the shed & it's overflow rainwater. The upturned plant pot is something I hadn't though of. My only concern is that after all the time, effort & money that I don't get frogs/frogspawn'toads/toadspawn. Anything else I can do to encourage them?
Froggy - 20-Feb-17 @ 7:19 PM
We live in a built-up area but have a large garden and would love to have toad or preferably toads. We have lived here for 40 years, have a decent-sized pond (& frogs), but never any toads. I am aware of the advice against importing amphibians from outside, but how else would you ever have one?
Jay - 10-Sep-16 @ 9:13 AM
Hello. I found a toad inside a flower pot last March and was wondering if this might have been its hibernating spot. Do toads hibernate INSIDE flower pots? I 've heard that they like upturned pots, or liked to dig underneath them. This pot had a plant and soil in it - so i assume it dug underneath the soil slightly. Is this a common occurrence?
abithree - 4-Aug-15 @ 4:55 PM
We live in the south of France. Several yeas ago we built a wooden house on land that is arid dryand has very little water. On our exposed veranda I have quite a few pot plants and herbs in pots, and over the last few years have had a resident toad. Now while I am happy for her ( as she is very large) to live there she does disturb the roots of the plants that she buries herself in. so this year i gave her her own home and duly watered it when I daily did the others. Fine but she then decided after a few weeks that she would try other pots and cause problems. So I took her down to our substantial veg patch all fenced in and very moist and made her a nice damp home sheltered and safe. I have now moved her 3 times and each time she has re-appeared in a pot on the veranda. She has get through a field and rabbit proof fence up the large gardento climb up several deep steps to get on the veranda in the first place then climb up into pots that are now lodged off the ground. My husband who is very attuned to garden and inhabitants says its the same one and I am not convinced. My children mockingly say it is my soulmate as I have been told in the past I have 'some powers'. No I dont believe that. So please help me to understand this resident.
sandy - 11-Sep-12 @ 11:33 AM
OK, I'm on the toad-abode bandwagon! I have a large garden but also, two cats who roam the garden freely. It also tends to be very hot out there, and dry to arid, during our frequently VERY HOT Indiana summers... We do have shrubs, and a tree or two. But, for safety's sake I put the new toad "house" (a pile of stones with organic matter underneath) in the southeastern corner of my garden, out of reach of the kitties. I also have a 16" tray for water, and small stones in it. You may ask, how can this corner be out of reach of cats? We use radio fence to keep our pets off the road, and that corner is beyond the shock barrier. The corner receives shade from about 2 pm on, because there is a huge pine tree nearby. Sadly I have no tall plants in this corner, not until annuals are planted that will become 3 to 4 ft in height. Those will provide shade and cover. But until then, this area will be sunny throughout the morning and early afternoon. Is there anything else that i could do to improve the situation? I have other spots that would do for toads, but the cats would come around there and probably scare off any amphibian visitors... Also, we do have ferns, hostas and potted plants along the north side of my house, and there is moisture from watering on hot evenings. Toads sometimes visit after dark, and the cats are indoors! That is great, but I do need to bring more insect-eating visitors to my main garden. Any suggestions? Thanks-
Lucinda - 25-May-12 @ 5:07 PM
Completely agree with Dawna M. I have frogs in my garden but no toads but would love them. There not ugly at all and hate when people say this!
Fiona_125 - 21-May-12 @ 9:33 PM
Can anyone name this toad or frog. Size -- palm of ladies hand, v dark green with black stripes down back
botto - 7-May-12 @ 7:24 PM
We found a small toad in our garden last year and was quite surprised as we have no pond and we have a walled garden. We still have it and it's doing well and has definately got bigger. Anyone got any ideas how it got into our garden?
denisekemp22 - 18-Jul-11 @ 9:28 PM
I truly find it strange that while browsing at least 30+ google-searched sites that might help me learn how to attract toads to my garden areas, nearly ALL of them preclude their information with disclaimers such as: "They are such UNSIGHTLY creatures!" or, "They are SOOOOOO UGLY!" etc. or, sillier yet, "Don't believe the old wives' tales.they won't give you warts if you touch them."The truth is, many people, including myself find toads and frogs to be very fascinating creatures. Many people consider them to be quite lovely and adorable. Actually, if you have any imagination at all, when you look at a toad or a frog, or even a salamander or a lizard, and observe its front "claws" and notice that it has five "digits" quite like we do, one begins to wonder why in the world evolution has not favored these creatures to become as "highly developed" as us mammalian homo-sapiens.Supposedly, our thumbs and fingers and ability to create and use tools plus our highly developed cerebrum is what separates us from the rest of the animal world. Actually, I wonder sometimes, if perhaps the reptiles and amphibians may have already evolved way past us and we just haven't met the more highly evolved ones yet.just a thought! But please.no more stuff about TOADS ARE UGLY!!! I, and many others see them as SOOOOOOOO BEAUTIFUL!!!Thanks for letting me share my opinion! Love to hear other people's comments! My email is gardengal3@centurytel.net.
Dawna M Mazurak-Fike - 16-May-11 @ 2:09 PM
We have a toad that has happily hibernated in our greenhouse. However, now that it is warming up considerably (20 degrees here today, and only April!) I am worried that he will not survive in the greenhouse. I also worry that I may accidentally hurt him as I am now wanting to start digging the soil which he often burys himself in. We have a raised pond (1.5m square & a good metre deep) which often attracts frogs. I wonder if the toad will struggle to get in / out of this though. I am often surprised that the frogs manage it!What do you suggest I do with him? - Leave him where he is? - Leave the greenhouse door open one night to see if he makes his own way out (although we have a cat who I KNOW would be very interested in the toad should they meet!)?- Move him to a more moist & sheltered spot in the garden?Your advice would be greatly appreciated, thank you!
tarara - 7-Apr-11 @ 4:27 PM
I need some help to identify my toads' spawn we have 30-40 mating pairs spread aroud three ponds in the garden. Had to move 18 pairs from heavy pumps and found a reddish white female with a normal green male paired. Took them indoors to spawn they layed white eggs 1 day later left them in tank until separated then let them go back to ponds. The tadpoles have hatched and are white with back eyes help.
mouse - 5-Apr-11 @ 9:05 AM
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