Goaded by invasives, Wilsonville hires goats

City of Wilsonville employees works to eradicate invasives. (FOT file)
City of Wilsonville employees work to eradicate invasives. (FOT file)

The City of Wilsonville is once again using an alternative route to control invasive plants… goats!

Yesterday the city hosted a ‘meet the goats’ celebration with sample cheese, milk and yogurt available; but the main attraction was the goats themselves, available for petting and demonstrating how 300 of them are eating their way through English Ivy, Himalayan Blackberry, Laurel, and Holly at Memorial Park in Wilsonville this week.

The city hires Hawley Land and Cattle Company to supply and manage the goats.

The main goal is to have the goats reduce the amount of ground ivy; however, goats are not choosy eaters and will chomp any plant they can get a hold of, so it is best if they are placed in invasive-rich environments.  On Sunday, the goats were in an area that had large, mature Douglas Fir with a bunch of English Ivy as the under-story, and Himalayan Blackberry bordering the area.

The goats made short work of the ivy (vines and all!) and happily plowed through the blackberry. A few industrious goats stood up on their hind legs and munched at the ends of low hanging Douglas Fir branches, but they did little damage to the trees.

Friends of Trees has partnered with the City of Wilsonville for several years to plant thousands of native trees and shrubs at Memorial Park.  It was fun to see the goats at work in what may be a future planting site for Friends of Trees.

–Logan Lauvray