Summer means sunshine, warmer weather, flowers - and weeds. Facility managers often find their landscaping efforts pushed to the brink in the summer months just trying to keep up with controlling weeds and other wild overgrowth that can choke plants, impede movement across grounds and be a major eyesore. Eliminating these pesky weeds is surely a priority, but before you go outside and spray your building's lawn with chemicals, there's an alternative option that's been shown to be cost-effective, environmentally safe and adorable.
A safe and effective solution
Turning to goats as a natural means to control unwanted vegetation growth may seem archaic, but in reality it's actually a method that's been proven effective time and time again. Goats are browsing animals, which means that they have a natural inclination to eat annoying and unsightly undergrowth. Even better, according to information from The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, goats have a distinct advantage over other possible livestock solutions like cows. Cows are grazing animals, meaning they actually prefer to eat grass. Goats on the other hand distinctly prefer what is known as browse - weeds, briars and other types of undergrowth, and will eat these plants with reckless abandon without munching on your lawn.
The goat solution also comes with a distinct environmental advantage. As a natural source of weed control, the use of goats doesn't require the application of harmful chemicals, and unlike bulldozers and other machinery, won't disturb the soil integrity.
Things to consider
Of course, a goat-based weed control strategy isn't free of special considerations of its own. The biggest impediment that facility managers may struggle with is the keeping of the actual goats themselves. They require a dedicated space large enough for whatever number you decide to keep, and unlike other types of equipment can't just be locked in a closet until the next time you need them. They must be fed and attended to, and according to Goat World, may also lead to liability considerations. Goats also have a notorious reputation for being hungry, and while they won't generally munch up all the grass, flowers and trees are fair game as far as they're concerned.
All in all, however, for facilities that have the space and personnel to maintain an on-site goat population, the animals can offer an effective and environmentally friendly method of controlling unwanted weeds and keeping down facility maintenance costs in the summer.