Are Pine Trees Toxic to Frogs?
Chemical Composition of Pine
- Pine needles contain technical-sounding chemical components, such as massonianoside, monoepoxylignan and umbelliferone. If you have ever used a cleaning product containing pine, you know it is an effective disinfectant. In aromatherapy, pine essential oil is used to kill microbes, fungus, viruses and bacteria, including germs such as E. coli. Pine oil is also diuretic and insecticidal. Because pond water must not be a sterile environment for frogs and other creatures, pine needles, pine pollen and other parts of the tree interfere with the natural balance of microbes and bacteria that are beneficial to supporting tadpoles, frogs and other forms of life.
Plants That Are Safe
- In nature, certain plants grow in ponds and other bodies of water where frogs live. They include water lilies, duckweed and some types of algae. Other beneficial plants include cattails, arrowhead, water lettuce and water hyacinth. These plants help to bring oxygen to the water and sometimes attract insects that frogs like to eat.
Good Plant, Bad Plant
- Although a certain amount of algae is normal in frog ponds, too much of it can turn the water green. If you want to keep your frogs, it's important to keep your pond water balanced by maintaining nutrients that frogs need and decreasing the light that reaches the water. If you introduce floating plants such as water lilies or duckweed, they will block much of the sun that reaches the water and causes algae to proliferate.
Oleander and Other Substances
- Oleander, a shrub, can have toxic effects on frogs and tadpoles, so be sure to keep these plants away from your frog pond area and other areas where frogs will gather to feed and live. Non-plant materials that have a toxic effect on frogs and tadpoles include animal manures, runoff from compost piles, septic tanks and herbicides, and pesticides you might use on nearby plants or lawns.
Building a Pond
- If you're planning to build a pond in which you will raise tadpoles and frogs, locate it far from any pine trees on your property. If your yard is small and you value your pine tree, hang netting over the pond to prevent pine needles from falling into it. Cut down the pine tree if that is your only option. Remember, such trees provide homes and food to other wildlife such as birds and squirrels.