Gardening goats return to Frick Park to munch on weeds

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The goats are back.

Shortly after 10 a.m. on Monday, 14 goats and their guardian, a donkey named Hobo, entered their temporary home and project site at the Frick Environmental Center in Pittsburgh in procession.

The goats were directed to the Clayton Hill Trail area of ​​Frick Park to resume their duties for the fourth year.

The goats are donated to the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy by Allegheny GoatScape.

You are the mean, slim, much green, four-legged landscape gardening team.

Zachary Gibson | Grandstand review

Garden goats eating honeysuckle in Frick Park on July 28, 2021.

Right behind the back loop of the Clayton Hill Trail, goats can be seen eating honeysuckle, an invasive plant brush with the potential to grow up to 4.5 meters.

“They form a really dense layer that no trees can start under and form a monoculture that is really not good for forests,” said Robin Eng of the reserve.

Traditionally, goats have been a reliable and environmentally friendly option in controlling overgrowth of unwanted plants and invasive vegetation. Especially in the western regions of the country, where forest fires are common, they are widely used as a preventive safety measure to extinguish undergrowth.

Eng explained the progress the goats have made over the years and their plans for the future of the project.

“The whole plan is to push back the invasive species so we can then plant native species that will thrive on the newly cleared land. Last spring we were able to plant around 150 native trees that can now grow to fill the canopy here, ”she said. “The goats did a really great job eating extra vines and invasive grasses that would have hampered forest regeneration.”

Zachary Gibson | Grandstand review

Goats rest in the shade of the trees in their enclosure in Frick Park on July 28, 2021.

Thanks to these hardworking goats, people who visit Frick Park will soon find that the Clayton Hill area is becoming a healthier environment for native flora and fauna, Eng said. Until then, park visitors will find the furry gardening crew eating, playing and napping.

Zachary Gibson is a contributor to Tribune Review. You can contact Zachary by email at zgibson@triblive.com or on Twitter.