Fighting Invasive Plant Species Naturally... With Goats!

Posted on July 2, 2015

Yes, goats! Why not? Goats are known to eat anything, and as Melanie Manion, Natural Resources Management Supervisor for Michigan's Ottawa County recently discovered, they really love nasty invasive plants like oriental bittersweet and autumn olive.

Manion, who manages more than 7,000 acres of natural parkland, fences in her herd of eight goats in one section of park for a few weeks, during which time they munch away at the impenetrable, hard-to-reach tangle of bittersweet vines and other invasives. After a couple of weeks, they move on to another area. The benefits are many, not the least of which is the cost savings in human resources and herbicides, and anytime there is an effective, natural method of invasive control that doesn't involve using chemicals, it's generally a good thing.

Maybe we should add a "goat" line item into our stewardship budget next year...