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Maryville College ditching garden tools, using goats to rid of kudzu

Maryville College decided to hire a landscaping company to deploy goats to eat the kudzu growing in the woods near campus.
Updated: Jun. 16, 2021 at 8:46 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Maryville College hired a landscaping company to deploy goats to eat the kudzu growing in the woods near campus.

Biology professor Dr. Drew Crain says kudzu is an invasive species that is threatening local wildflowers and native species. A campus group that oversees the upkeep of the forest decided goats were the most environmentally friendly option.

“When we looked at different techniques to eliminate our kudzu- one of them is mechanical and it would harm all of the natives as well as the kudzu. We looked at herbicides and they would harm the natives, so we saw these goats as the environmentally friendly alternative,” said Crain.

The school hired Knox Goats to do the work. Owner Keith Bridges moves the goats around to clear an area of kudzu. He then manually goes in and cuts out the remaining kudzu that is too high for the goats to reach.

“Goats eat 5% of their body weight a day and can clean about 175 square feet or 250 square foot a day,” said Bridges

Crain and Bridges estimate it will take a year to clear all of the kudzu.

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