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a very small vernal pool: would woodland amphibians use it?

Posted by njbiology Zone 7(/6b)%3B NJ (My Page) on
Sun, Feb 23, 14 at 16:05


I built a very large garden pond on my property: a 1/4-acre native plant, densely landscaped lot in an urban area. There are nearly NO woodfrogs, toads, tree frogs or woodland salamanders around due to residential development. (There is a population of redback salamanders on my property and in the adjacent wooded lots; these do not rely on pools for breeding, however.)

I'm considering building a very small vernal pond (6' x 5' x 2') on my property. Would this be too small for woodfrogs, toads, aquatic-breeding salamanders, spring peeper woodfrogs, etc. to use? (Perhaps after being introduced into it as larvae/eggs and returning to breed in it?) I'd plumb a valve to the the liner so that water only stands in the spring.

(I feel that they would not use the closed-system, 38' pond in my yard because there are fish in there, as well as a current of moving water. Also, I read that permanent ponds (especially those containing fish) are less suitable for vernal pond-breeding amphibians due to the presence of a certain bacteria.)

Would I be better off using the spot to build a cranberry/carnivorous plant bog, than wasting it on amphibians that won't use it?

Thank you,

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: a very small vernal pool: would woodland amphibians use it?

I had a 9' pond in a very urban setting. Nearest creek was a half mile away, multiple streets, commercial area and a busy railroad in between. Yet frogs found me! They didn't mind the waterfall or the fish. If you have enough plants in the pond for cover, and provide a way to get out of the pond when they want to, they'll love it. How long have you had your pond? If you've had it through one spring/summer, I'm surprised you don't have any by now.

RE: a very small vernal pool: would woodland amphibians use it?

amphibians will use it.
You could also plant carnivious plants in there too.
Yes, if you build it, they will come. It's amazing.
Just try to shade it some, birds will be keeping an eye on it.

RE: a very small vernal pool: would woodland amphibians use it?

I can't answer a lot of your questions, but I can tell you that frogs / toads will use a very small water area. A friend had a low spot about 3' across and maybe 6" deep that she intended to fill in. It didn't happen. The next spring there were many tadpoles / toadpoles. I will add that there must have been a water source of some kind because the spot never dried out in the summer.

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