17 March 2013

Bullfrog Massacre

For some reason I thought cleaning out our pond would only take 1 day. I didn't realize just how big of a pond it was (or a job it would be).

Friday the pond looked pretty much like this at the start.

  Pond Project

It's obvious that we had some dead vegetation to remove. We also knew there were lots of tadpoles in the pond still, but we only ever saw 3-4 full grown bullfrogs.  2 years ago we found the bullfrogs trying to take over the pond.  We didn't realize how bad the infestation was.

They have made life fairly miserable for the fish that managed to survive. We saved a dozen or more goldfish and hope they can hang in there until after we get the pond completely cleaned out.

This is what our pond looked like by the end of the work day on Friday. Doesn't look dramatically different but we worked a long time to drain the muck filled pond down to this level and we filled up a few trash bags with the root bound and dead vegetation.

Pond Cleanout (Day 1)

This view shows just how deep the pond is. Even drained down to this much, it was iffy on whether to go ahead and get in with rain boots and start shoveling because you don't want that swamp water inside your boots!

Pond Cleanout (Day 1)

A few years ago, before the frogs, we had quite a few more fish in the pond.

Back when Flounder and bigger goldfish were still with us in June 2011
We're hoping to stock the pond with fish and flora soon...

On day 2 we seemed to make a lot more progress. The cattails and hyacinth were so tightly bound together that we could walk on the "island" to begin hacking away at it all. We are getting rid of the cattails completely and only keeping a very sparse amount of the beautiful hyacinth.

I can't seem to find the pictures of the hyacinth when it was blooming and beautiful but I did find this picture of the hyacinth right after my sister's dog tromped through it. That should give you an idea of how thick it was back then (2 years ago!).

Dog Tromp Through Hyacinth
Before tadpole awareness, July 2011
By the end of Day 2 we'd removed several containers of the pond plants and probably 10x that amount of plants growing within the roots of other plants! It was disgusting and scary and twice I happened upon bullfrogs hidden in the muck and roots. I actually picked one up and tossed its sliminess up onto that pile of pond plants. Ewww! 

We were using clippers to cut through the vegetation and after sighting 2 healthy looking bullfrogs, we were worried that the swampy water was going to get bloody. We got lucky in that we didn't clip any frogs. One frog hopped into the mostly empty pool the other day and stayed... ;.(

Our sump pump kept getting clogged by tadpoles and muck and we'd stop every once in a while to let the muck settle and hack away at a root ball and search for fish survivors trying to get some air. We filled up the wheelbarrow over and over with muck from our nets and leaf rake (we really needed a seining net) and we dumped that at the West end of the property where no one really hangs out.  Maybe it will make for some fertile (if not stinky) ground.

Pond Cleanout (Day 2)

This is where we are now. We are letting the invasive plants dry out before bagging them up and letting the last bit of muck dry out before we start shoveling and scooping out the pond. I want to scrub down the liner and rinse it out before we refill the water and add back in the hyacinth and fish.

Once we defoliate a little on the East side and rinse off the rocks, that area will be a little more of an oasis to enjoy. It's going to be so nice to have a clear pond again with a working waterfall (maybe 2).  And some nice water lilies....

Love working on projects like this...(wish we hadn't waited so long)


  1. Nolita, what a project! It'll be lovely when you get done, but I have to ask... do bullfrogs like water lilies? (Don't want to "invite" them back!) :)

    1. I sure hope not, Kim. My brother (avid, nay fanatic fisherman is helping me to stock the pond so hopefully we can keep things in balance this time. I am so excited to get things taken care of in the back yard but Mother Nature hasn't


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