How to encourage newts into your garden?

How to encourage newts into your garden?

There’s something especially thrilling about finding newts in the garden. These lizard-like amphibians eat bugs and slugs that would damage precious plants, and finding them in your garden is a sign of a healthy eco-system.

 

Identifying your newts

The UK has three native newt species – the common or smooth newt, the palmate newt and the great crested newt.

  • Common newts are grey-brown with orange undersides and black spots all over their bodies. In the mating season, males have a smooth crest running along their back and tail.
  • Palmate newts look very similar to common newts, but in the mating season, the males develop black webbing on their hind feet.
  • Great crested newts are rare and are protected by law. They’re black, with white-spotted flanks, a warty, rough-looking skin and orange underside. In the mating season, males have a long wavy crest along their body and tail. If you think you have great crested newts in your garden, contact Natural England, Natural Resource Wales or Scottish Natural Heritage who can advise you what to do next.

 

Newt lifestyle

Like frogs and toads, newts hibernate over winter and emerge in spring to find water in which to mate and lay their eggs. Newt courtship is a flamboyant affair, with the males taking on brighter colours, growing distinctive crests, and flicking their tails to attract females. After mating, females lay their eggs in the water, wrapping each egg up in the leaf of an aquatic plant.

The eggs hatch into tadpoles that feed first on algae and later on insects and small pondlife. Gradually these tadpoles develop legs, become adult newts and move out of the water onto land, living in damp shady places under logs, in hedgerows or under stones. Compost heaps are a favourite hibernation spot in winter, so watch out for newts when digging in your compost heap in spring.

 

How to encourage newts into your garden

Newts like damp shady environments with easy access to water, so to encourage newts into your garden, build a pond (but don’t put fish into it, as they’ll eat the young newts). Make a slope at one end, so that newts and other wildlife can get in and out easily, and add aquatic plants for the females to wrap eggs in – water forget-me-not (Myosotis scorpioides) and water mint (Mentha aquatica) are ideal. Marginal plants such as irises around the edge of the pond give newts and other wildlife protection from predators, and a log pile makes a good winter hibernation home.

It can take a year or two for newts to find your pond but resist the temptation to bring in newts from other locations, as this can spread disease. Be patient, and let the wildlife find you.

Once you have newts in your garden, other amphibians will follow, and your garden will reap the benefit. For advice on ponds and pond plants, why not pop into our garden centre? 

You might also be interested in:

Upcycling home trends with used furniture

These upcycling home trends with used furniture are a great way to spruce up furniture that you no longer want to use but don’t want to put into waste. Upcycling can mean you create something new for your home or even something to sell on for someone else. It helps minimise landfill and can be an environmentally friendly way to update your home and garden furnishings. 

1. Upcycling with old wooden desks 

If you are done with an ol...

Read more...
Squirrels in your garden

Seeing squirrels in your garden can be terrific fun, and they are quite common in many areas, especially where there are plenty of trees. They will happily munch new shoots, berries, fungi and many other things you might not want them to eat, so there are some protective measures you can take if you want to keep them off your plants and away from the bird feeders. Grey squirrels are common but red squirrels are now endangered. Here is how to welcome squirrels into your garden...

Read more...
15 gardening tips for February

In February, you can really sense that spring is just around the corner, with snowdrops and daffodils starting to appear and buds swelling on the trees. Please make the most of dry days with our top 15 gardening jobs for February.

Top 15 gardening tips for February

  1. Prune winter-flowering shrubs like Mahonia and Viburnum x bodnantense as soon as they’ve finished flowering, to keep their shape neat.

  2. Prune bush roses n...

Read more...
Popular houseplant: the money tree

We know money doesn’t really grow on trees, but you can still have your own money tree in your home, enriching you with the beauty of nature. The money tree (Pachira aquatica) is native to swamps and riverbanks in Central and South America, where it can grow to a height of 18m (60ft). Grown as an indoor plant, it doesn’t reach these lofty heights, though it can eventually reach 1.8m (6ft). We offer beautiful houseplants to cheer up your interior in our garden centre. The mone...

Read more...

Opening hours

  • Monday
    09:00 - 17:00
  • Tuesday
    09:00 - 17:00
  • Wednesday
    09:00 - 17:00
  • Thursday
    09:00 - 17:00
  • Friday
    09:00 - 17:00
  • Saturday
    09:00 - 17:00
  • Sunday
    10:30 - 16:30
Show all opening hours