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Goats Ba-a-a-a-a-a-ack for Round 2: Winning the Fight Vs. Kudzu Atop Fort Dickerson 
Goats take on kudzo at Fort Dikcerson Park.

It’s a classic grudge match – 18 goats and Jeanie the guard dog versus six acres of suffocating kudzu at Fort Dickerson Park.

The smart money is on the goats.

Sure, they’re cute. But they’re also relentless competitors, and they’re winning the fight against the so-called “vine that ate the South.”

They just need a little more time.

“The goats were turned loose on three acres, and the kudzu leaves are all gone,” says Chad Weth, deputy director of the City’s Public Service Department.

“The goats have browned it out, eaten the kudzu leaves, but there still are big vines and huge root balls the size of buses. We’ll be going in with mowers and reclaiming more of that land. The root balls will shrink without the plant leaves.”

The goats are moving on to a second three-acre tract, and they’re scheduled to finish the job around Sept. 21.

“The goats are an effective nontoxic way to manage kudzu and other invasive vegetation,” Weth says. “After repeated use, they can eliminate unwanted vegetation and allow us to regain park property lost to invasive plant species.”

The goats are scheduled to return next summer to continue the work at Fort Dickerson.

Each goat costs less than $2 per day, but that’s a bargain, because they eventually eliminate most of the invasive species. Herbicides tend to only “cover up” the problem, and no one wants to use toxic material, especially in a park.

“Everybody loves the goats,” Weth says. “They’re fun to watch. And goats are pretty good employees: They don’t get paid much, they don’t receive benefits, and they don’t quit – ever. They just like to eat – and then eat some more.”

Jeanie guards her goats while they munch on kudzu.

The herd of 18 goats has cleared a 3-acre tract of kudzu at Fort Dickerson.

Goats are undaunted by thick kudzu - they just see free meals of a favored cuisine.

The herd likely will be ba-a-a-a-a-ack next year to further shrink the kudzu fields at Fort Dickerson.

Posted by evreeland On 02 September, 2015 at 10:15 AM