Boston Enlists Goats to Combat Poison Ivy, Other Invasive Plants

Goats are sustainable approach to landscape management

The city of Boston, Massachusetts, is enlisting some goats to help combat poison ivy and other invasive plant species growing in parks and on Recreation Department property.

The Parks Department has teamed up with the Southwest Boston Community Development Corporation and The Goatscaping Company of Duxbury and Plymouth to host a small group of the four-legged helpers at the West Street Urban Wild in Hyde Park.

The goats are a sustainable approach to landscape management.

The idea was generated when teenagers from the Hyde Park Green Team, SWBCDC's environmental education and job readiness program, approached Boston Mayor Marty Walsh to discuss goatscaping at the Mayor's Neighborhood Coffee Hour at McGann Playground on May 27.

Goats are currently used on Boston's Harbor Islands and in other states and major cities, including Chicago and Washington, D.C. as a way of managing overgrown and invasive vegetation.

The goats eat the invasive plants, digest them removing harmful seeds and oils, and then deposit a clean natural fertilizer back into the landscape.

Four goats will live on-site at the West Street Urban Wild for eight weeks. They will have a small hut for shelter, supplemental water, hay and grain.

The public is welcome to view the goats. The public should not pet them or feed them.

Any resident interested in helping to feed and water the goats should call: (617) 364-7300.

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