I think I've got.....Toads?

jagchaser(5A NE, -15-115f may frost)July 26, 2014

I noticed a 13 lined ground squirrel in the orchard about a month ago. I thought it was kind of neat, until I noticed a few holes going down right into the softer dirt where I just planted the trees. I applied some treated wheat to get rid of them and then I filled and packed the holes back in.

Today I was back out and saw more holes, but no ground squirrels. I went out tonight with the pellet gun and the only thing I see around the holes are toads.

My orchard is out in what used to be virgin shortgrass pasture and the toads are native. Normally they aren't out when it is dry, but apparently they have found nice moist spots every 12-15 ft where I have trees.

Maybe I shouldn't worry because they wont be chewing on roots and they will be eating bugs, but I worry that they will aerate the root zone too much. What do you guys think about it?

Im not sure what a person could do to keep them from digging around the trees, maybe urea?

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Acadiafun

I never had an orchard but did have a beautiful yard with mature trees, shrubs, flowers and a large pond. Toads everywhere and never did a plant or tree suffer from their presence. I would not worry about them at all.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 12:00AM
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copingwithclay

When it is time to relocate some of my toad herd members, I slowly fill their hole with water. As they come out, I just pick them up and place them in a bucket with a bit of water in it. After each hole is overflowing with water and no more toads come out, I fill the holes with choice soil. The bucket carries them to their new area where they find plenty of cover and spots to dig new condos.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 12:28AM
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don555(3a)

I can't imagine your toads hurting your trees at all. If anything, I would be encouraging the toads -- they will eat all manner of insects that might actually damage your orchard.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 1:39AM
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ltilton

Lucky to have toads. Conserve and value them, because they'll take out a lot of troublesome bugs.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 8:35AM
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dbarron(z7_Arkansas)

Yes, I'd like toads (though maybe not an overload of toads) in my garden.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 8:40AM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

They've set up shop in my greenhouse. Seem to move every few days. They won't hurt your trees in the slightest.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 8:55AM
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lionheart_gw

Yes, toads are insect eaters. Around here, they especially like slugs and snails. If you have slugs, you'll have toads. But they like other insects too; I just happen to notice the toads around areas where slugs like to hang out.

Toads are not a big problem. Your population explosion of toads is due to high levels of insects, which keeps the toads around and allows them the resources to reproduce successfully. Once the insects go away, so will the toads.

Generally, though, toads are a good thing. it may be creepy to see so many, as usually you don't notice them, but it may be normal.

Toads like to hide under rocks or leaf litter in shady areas during the day. In the winter they will burrow about 3 feet underground. Those holes you see are probably caused by voles or chipmunks, not toads.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 9:00AM
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olpea(zone 6 KS)

Jag,

I don't have that many toads, but we do get crawdads. Before I started putting trees in mounds, the crawdads would dig holes beside new trees. I don't think it hurt the trees at all.

I think toads/frogs are man's best friend. They don't eat anything we grow, eat lots of different pests and never harm anybody (at least in North America). Plus they are kind of cool to look at. Especially toads.

I need to go back and read Wind in the Willows now :-)

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 10:09AM
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ltilton

And they sing for you in the springtime.

Toads are under great environmental pressure, so people should help them any way we can.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 10:52AM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

I've seen a few toads over the years in my yard..some frogs. If you have them, i would think that is a GOOD thing, not a bad thing. I'd love (and so would my kid) more frogs. I think we i get around to putting in a pond, they'll show up.

Better then yard gnomes.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 11:29AM
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jagchaser(5A NE, -15-115f may frost)

I am all for having lots of toads around.....but my ground out here is not like most of you have ever seen. The picture is from early spring.

There are no good places for them to hide. The only soil that is soft enough for them to burrow in is the soil directly around the roots of the trees. The rest of the soil is virgin sod, as in sod house bricks type sod.

In the yard we have plenty of toads too, but the yard also gets watered. Out in the orchard only a small area gets wet from the drip system. I can see the trees where they did dig are stressed and have not leafed out at well as the trees with no holes.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 1:55PM
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ltilton

It's easy to put out some toad shelters.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 2:31PM
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copingwithclay

As a follow up to the toad tribute, years ago I had a Gulf Coast Bug Biter electric zapper that did an incredible job on mosquitos for about a decade before it finally died. Sadly, the mom and pop company that hand made them is gone (as far as I can tell). During peak skeeter seasons, there would be anywhere from 1 to 6 (world record) toads on the ground directly below the zapper waiting for the next sizzling, crispy skeeter to drop down. And they did get fat on the well-done servings of "fresh from the grill", "all you can eat" bugs.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 3:11PM
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