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Kudzu Eating Goats

By Debra Myers     Jun 5, 2007 in Environment
Kudzu is a vine that has literally eaten the Southern part of the U.S. It's native to Asia, but was introduced into the U.S.A. in 1876 at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition. It was then considered an ornamental vine, and was planted in the South.
Over the years, the vine has devoured the Southern states, and gone from being something pretty to look at or a way to prevent erosion, into something that's more than a nuisance. It is now one of the most invasive plants recognized in the world today. Kudzu grows at a rate of a foot a day, and smothers everything in its path...flora, houses, trees, etc.
(Photos from Wikipedia.)
Missionary Ridge, which bisects Chattanooga, Tennessee, has come up with a way to safely remove this invasive plant, without having to resort to man-power, burning, or chemicals. “Safety just will not let you get in on some of these slopes with equipment or even people trying to clear it by hand,” Ray W. Burden Jr., county extension director for the Institute of Agriculture at the University of Tennessee, said.
Goats!!! Yes...they are successfully using goats!
Here in Missionary Hills, there is a constant battle with Kudzu. The worst of it is when this vine starts covering McCallie Tunnel. Because of the terrain, goats have become a solution...even at the expense of being the 'butt' of several jokes and even a song called: "Ode to Bill Goats"! “I couldn’t resist it,” Mr. (Randy) Mitchell said. “It was just screaming to have a song written about it.”
This is a view from Missionary Hills.
When this experiment with the goats first began last Fall, pranksters put up "goats working" signs which were immediately taken down. The next thing to befall the goats were dogs, who got past the 'guard donkeys' and killed two of the goats and mauled another. This is year, llamas have replaced the donkeys.
I have to say that this is one of the most earth-friendly ways to get rid of such an troublesome plant! Tallahassee, Florida has used sheep to regain control over the Kudzu, and in Spartanburg, South Carolina, goats were being used. That was until the goat herd got stolen!
More about Goats, Kudzu, Tennessee