Boston Expanding Its Goat-Powered Landscaping System Because Everyone Loves Goats

Not a Boston goat, but a goat enjoying his work nevertheless. (jasonschwarz)

Not a Boston goat, but a goat enjoying his work nevertheless. (jasonschwarz)

We’ve learned recently that all you need to get people pumped up about a landscaping plan is hire a couple of four-footed workers to do what they already like doing, munching away on vegetation. After a successful season last summer using ruminants as landscapers, Boston is expanding its plan this year, adding more goats at more city locations in need of tending.

Picking up where it left off last summer, Boston is contracting one herd of goats to continue clearing out overgrown brush and invasive plants at an urban wild in Hyde Park, reports the Boston Globe, while two other groups will be munching away at George Wright Golf Course.

A spokesman from the city’s Parks and Recreation Department said officials were impressed by how last year’s herd chomped through vegetation we humans don’t like at parks, like poison ivy and buckthorn.

“Because of the success last year, we decided to continue the Goatscaping program,” he said. “It was a dreary-looking space filled with poison ivy. Six weeks later it was an opened-up field.”

The park goats will head to work on July 6, while their colleagues will head to the golf course two weeks later. Golfers won’t get to just hang out with the caprine workers, as the goats will be sectioned off by solar-powered electric fences. After the park goats finish up on July 31, they’ll join their pals at the golf course.

Goats can be awesome in these situations because some spots are hard for humans to get to and in major need of tending, the parks spokesman adds. Plus, goats are silent, but effective.

“Bringing in the goats will let us open those areas up, and we won’t have the noise from the heavy machinery,” he said. “They eat these plants and remove all of the harmful oils and seeds and produce a clean and natural fertilizer to the landscape.”

The co-owner of Goatscaping Co., the company that rents out the goats to the parks department, says the animals have been a hit.

“The biggest surprise for us was how much the neighborhood embraced it,” she said. “People just really enjoyed it.”

Portland and Chicago have both used goats and other animals in the past for similar work, clearing out overgrown shrubbery to the general delight of all. Machine lawn mowers just aren’t as cute.

Boston expands goat-powered landscaping program [Boston Globe]