Greenwood Cemetery uses goats to battle back erosion and invasive plants

Local News

Twenty years ago, a buckthorn tree was planted alongside a headstone.
And now, it’s everywhere.

“You can spray a chemical on it after you cut the brush down,” said Ben Robel, owner of Vegetation Solutions. “Burning it, mowing it.”

Buckthorn is an invasive species and it doesn’t take long for it to overwhelm an area.
And its only natural predators are these guys.

“In this particular spot, you can’t get a mower on there,” he said. “They don’t want chemicals sprayed so close to the river, so this is the approach they took.”

The buckthorn never knew what hit it.
Close to 100 goats are out here chomping away.

“They live out here 24/7 for the duration of the project,” he said. “Rain or shine, they’re out there doing their job.

The goats are also working to prevent erosion by fertilizing the land.

“In the 70s, I could see the hill as a child growing up and waterskiing,” said Jewels Sowers, president at Greenwood Cemetery. “And caskets at that point were already eroding and coming off.”

And the goats brought their appetites.

“They’ll eat about five acres in about seven to ten days,” she said.

This is the second year the goats have been called with no regrets.

“When the board and people who have been here we talked about said it’s either chemicals or it’s goats, they’re like, ‘Let’s go with the goats,'” said Sowers.

If you’d like to show your support to Greenwood Cemetery’s beautification, check them out.

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