Goats vs. Kudzu

I’ve always been an advocate of using animals to manage vegetation. In this morning’s NY Times: In Tennessee, Goats Eat the ‘Vine That Ate the South’

Chattanooga’s goats have become unofficial city mascots since the Public Works Department decided last year to let them roam a city-owned section of the ridge to nibble the kudzu, the fast-growing vine that throttles the Southern landscape.

The Missionary Ridge goats and the project’s tragicomic turns have created headlines, inspired a folk ballad and invoked more than their share of goat-themed chuckles.

“Usually, in dealing with this, you’ve got to get people past the laugh factor,” said Jerry Jeansonne, a city forestry inspector and the program’s self-described “goat dude.”

Despite the humorous overtones to the city’s methods, the program represents an environmentally friendly effort to grapple with a real problem in Chattanooga and the South.

Read the whole article.

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6 thoughts on “Goats vs. Kudzu”

  1. Hi Craig,

    We get the NYTimes, so my husband and I listened to the song earlier this morning and had a chuckle over it. I wonder whether the goats will evolve necks like giraffes to get the Kudzu out of the trees.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  2. I don’t have much personal experience with kudzu. But if they ate the stems at ground level, I suppose that would take care of what’s up in the trees. At least that was my strategy with poison ivy when I lived in southeast Pennsylvania. Anyone know?

  3. Ah, but Craig… you’re looking at it from the perspective of the humans who want to get rid of the kudzu…and would like the goats to snap the vine at the base. The goat might want the newest, tenderest tips and leaves, found toward the top.
    Llamas have been used as guards for some of the small dairy goats here in Central Texas, a technique that was mentioned in the Tennessee story.

    Kudzu is supposed to grow in other parts of Texas – I hope it doesn’t come this far. My family has done a fair amount of driving through states like Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, and the Carolinas over the last 4 decades, so even if we haven’t had to live with it, we’ve seen a lot of it.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  4. I suspect these are meat goats. It’s tough to take the milking parlor along to where the kudzu needs cleaning up.

  5. I was up in the mountain ridge between NC and Tenn on day talking to one of the locals about some stone. One of the older ladies pointed to the ridge and said . . . “Ah, yep it’s there, them boulder is buried right there under the ‘mile-a-minute vine’ ” . . . ‘mile-a-minute-vine’, I’ll never forget it.

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