Goats Take On Kudzu at Fort Dickerson Park

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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News item

Goats Take On Kudzu at Fort Dickerson Park

Posted: 07/17/2015
Goats at Fort DickersonAs work continues at Fort Dickerson Park, the City of Knoxville is getting some help from four-legged contractors: Goats will be brought in next week to combat kudzu in preparation for additional phases of park improvements.

“Goats are a great, nontoxic way to manage kudzu and other invasive vegetation,” said Chad Weth, City Public Service Deputy Director. “Goats are effective and after repeated use can eliminate unwanted vegetation and allow us to regain park property lost to invasive plant species.”
The City contracts for the goat labor with Whistle Pig Farms of Thorn Hill, Tenn. Preparation work that began July 16 included clearing the perimeter and installing fencing. Goats and a guardian dog will be brought in Tuesday, July 21, to begin removing invasive species at Fort Dickerson Park. The goats will continue munching for four to six weeks.

Goats at Fort DickersonThe City has had past success in promoting this green alternative to invasive species removal. Goats are currently being used at Williams Creek for weed control in a partnership between the City of Knoxville and the Tennessee Clean Water Network.

“Using goats is definitely a healthier solution; they are carbon-friendly, noise-friendly and herbicide-free,” Whistle Pig Farm owner Richard Gibbs said. “Goats also have a proven success rate of permanently killing off 80 percent of kudzu foliage after three consecutive years of eating the vegetation.”

The goats will complement work being done to completely reconfigure and realign the entrance to Fort Dickerson from Chapman Highway. The project consists of 485 feet of new two-lane roadway that connects to the Woodlawn Pike intersection, creating a safer and more visible street entrance into the park. In addition, intersection improvements have been made to the Woodlawn at Chapman Highway intersection with new pedestrian signals and crosswalks.
The Aslan Foundation purchased the adjacent property (formerly home to G&R Automotive) and donated it to the City. CRJA Landscape Architects are designing the landscaping on the improved entrance. Additional park features will include the retaining wall façade, a sidewalk on the north side of the new road, tree plantings and a new KAT bus shelter scheduled for completion by the end of the year.

Goats at Fort Dickerson
Photos by Traci K. McDonell / City of Knoxville