The Spring Grove Cemetery and Arboretum just deployed a new weapon in its battle against invasive plants: goats. A shipment of seven arrived at the cemetery recently as part of an experiment to see how well grazing animals can control invasive plants, according to David Gressley, director of horticulture for the cemetery. The goats will be fenced inside a one-acre portion of the Woodland Preserve area near the center of the cemetery. Gressley said they will remain until they consume one acre of vegetation.
This experimental period is being used to determine if the goats can eradicate Winter Creeper, English Ivy and other invasive species that choke out native plants. Not only do these species spread aggressively, Gressley said they leave behind chemicals in the soil that make it difficult for other plants to grow.
Permaculture Guru in Batavia supplied the goats. The goats are part of an experiment to see how well grazing animals can control invasive plants. They will remain on-site until they consume one acre of ground vegetation, which is estimated to take one month. Each goat consumes about four pounds of vegetation every day. Permaculture Guru chose a few pregnant goats to bring because they eat more,” Gressley said.
The Woodland Preserve does not contain any graves. Gressley said the 10-acre plot was set aside about 75 years ago. Visitors will easily be able to see the goats at work by entering from Spring Grove Avenue, passing under the stone bridge and following the path with white dashed line.
The practice of using goats as an alternative to chemical herbicides has been gaining in popularity. Last summer, Goebel Park in Covington brought in goats to clear honeysuckle and other invasive species. Gressley said if the experiment is successful and the invasive plants don’t return after the goats consume them, then grazing could be implemented in other areas of the cemetery.
He explained that chemicals are always concern to the environment, especially near creeks. “In the long run, it could work out to be more cost-effective than repeated chemical applications,” Gressley said.
For more information contact: Michael Woeste: Permacultureguru@gmail.com