G.O.A.T. (Goats on a Trail)

Goats! What a great distraction in this age of pandemic. Twelve little goats and their donkey protector were on display for our entertainment as they ate away problem plants beside the Harmony Trail for ten days in September.

Many people learned we had goats along the trail through social media and used the trail to come see them. We had just added more surfaced trail south toward Richard Road making the trail almost one mile long. We wanted people to come and enjoy it, and thought goats would be a unique enticement, especially for families.

Although the goats turned out to be a bleating success in bringing people and attention to the trail, we had rented the herd to address our knotweed problem. We began working this knotweed problem about four years ago, but knotweed is really hard to get rid of. It grows very quickly and can get to eight feet tall in one season. It dies back to the ground over the winter, and reproduces from seeds and from its roots making it fast spreading.

We looked for a way to kill it without using chemicals. We settled on letting it do its spring growth spurt of 3 or 4 feet before cutting it back to the ground in early to mid-June. This is supposed to let the plant use up all of the food stores in its roots and then interfere with its creating more food stores by eliminating the green leaves. It would eventually grow back to 3 to 4 feet high. We would cut it to the ground again when it started to flower in September. This would help keep it from growing new plants through seed as well as reducing the amount of food stores it could make. We were told that by harassing it like this for a few years we could weaken it which could keep it from spreading and hopefully reduce it over time.

The goats can’t eat it back any more effectively than we can cut it, so their work replaces our second cut back of the season. Their work was part of the process not a solution.


There are currently no items in this folder.