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City Tries Out a Goat Friendly Way to Get Rid of Weeds

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The city is using the four-legged creatures to help take care of some unwanted weeds, instead of pulling out harmful chemicals to kill invasive plants. The city is using the four-legged creatures to help take care of some unwanted weeds, instead of pulling out harmful chemicals to kill invasive plants.

Goats invaded a Charlottesville park on Friday. Using an old and true way to get rid of weeds, the city is using the four-legged creatures to help take care of some of the unwanted weeds, instead of pulling out harmful chemicals to kill invasive plants.

Jace Goodling of Goat Busters explained, " A goat's life consists of eating, sleeping and chewing their cud."

And that's what they are doing, chewing, and eating everything in sight. The goats are being used to manage invasive plants growing at the park. The goats arrived at Pen Park Friday morning. They will be here for three weeks.The first round will deal with Privet and Honeysuckle, then the goats will be back in July to deal with Kudzu.

At a total cost of about $1,500 for their work, it's part of a test to see how efficient and cost-effective these guys can be. More than 30 goats are temporarily calling Pen Park home until mid May.

"We are testing to see if the goats are as good at cleaning out invasives and protecting the tree canopy as we can do with manual labor with equipment or possibly with chemicals," said Chris Gensic of Charlottesville Parks and Recreation.

The hungry goats are being kept inside an electric fence between the playground and little league field. Along with the fence, two guard dogs stand by their side. The goats are also catching the eye of people using the park.

"This is agri-tainment. In addition to earth friendly brush clearing, the goats are about as entertaining an animal as you can watch," said Goodling.

The owner of Goat Busters says the goats do produce between 40 and 50 pounds of natural fertilizer each day, which will help rejuvenate the grounds - just watch where you step.

 

After the goats are done, parks and rec crews will follow up with tree maintenance and replanting. This is all in an effort to reestablish a healthy and more native forest at Pen Park.