PITTSBURG, Kan. — The City of Pittsburg has a new landscaping team – one with a new “environmentally friendly” approach.
“The area that customers are looking to maintain will show up while fenced off with a portable electric fence. And then, we’ll turn to goats in there. And then, depending on how far down, we usually try to do 70 to 75% vegetation reduction. But it’s up to the customers how long they want to leave the goats in there,” said Robert Dutton.
They come from the veteran-owned and operated company, Oscar Mike Goat Rentals, and were hired by the city to do what you see them doing. Three dozen are clearing invasive weeds and unwanted brush in Pittsburg’s Lincoln Park, areas that are difficult for people to work in.
“It’s not necessarily a big area. It’s the hard areas. It’s the slopes. Robert had the best thing is their four-wheel-drive weed eaters. They can go up and down. They do a great job doing that. We can get staff to some of those areas, but it’s pretty hazardous. The poison ivy contacts, we can reduce that, that’s good for the staff,” said Toby Book.
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“Generally, 100 goats can do about an acre in 24 hours. If you leave them for a 24-hour period here, since it’s in the middle of a city, we’ve been taking them and bringing them home. So we’ve been leaving here from about 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day. So that area behind you is about 24 hours actual grazing time to get it done,” said Dutton.
Dutton and his team utilize a grazing system that takes out poison ivy and poison oak.
“We’re trying to reduce our chemical footprint too, and we always want to be friendly to the environment. And, you know, goats are just a natural resource. Like I say, they come by it naturally. They do a good job. We’re not spraying Roundup or other chemicals, and those chemicals will always have a use somewhere. But if we can reduce that, I feel we’re being responsible to the community,” added Book.
The goats will remain on duty for another week.
“We’re real satisfied with it. It’s a, I’d say this area over here to the left of me is probably a 50 to 60% reduction. We’ll bring in staff to finish it out, but now they can get in there without being in contact with the poison ivy and hazards like that,” said Book.