Photo: Courtesy of Allegheny GoatScape
A herd of Allegheny GoatScape goats munches on a donated Christmas tree.
A local nonprofit is soliciting Christmas tree donations to feed their herds of landscaping goats.
Allegheny GoatScape mobilizes herds of goats to clear overgrown land and remove invasive vegetation, including at the Great Allegheny Passage in Homestead, Frick Park, and other locations throughout the region.
“The goats work on projects consistently from late April through mid-November,” says executive director Gavin Deming, “eat[ing] up unwanted vegetation in wanted locations as a means of helping suppress invasive and noxious plants.”
By the time winter comes around, the goats miss their warm-weather diet of fresh greens, Deming says.
“Christmas trees are a nice treat for our goats, because, in the middle of winter, our goats are primarily eating hay and the grains we feed them,” he writes in an email to Pittsburgh City Paper. “They would much rather be eating leaves and plants as they do for much of the year, and Christmas trees are a quality diversion from the hay. The trees are high in vitamin C and also a great natural dewormer. Supposedly they taste good, too.”
Deming says Allegheny GoatScape has four herds of between 11 and 14 goats, and “three of the herds have a mini donkey who serves as protector; they also nibble on the Christmas trees from time to time, too.”
There’s no deadline to donate your tree, Deming says, since they distribute the trees over the course of the winter season. However, they will not accept trees sprayed with preservatives or paints, or those still decorated with ornaments, tinsel, or lights.
According to a post on the Allegheny Goatscape Facebook page, trees can be dropped at 447 Marshall Ave., Perry South at “the end of the driveway loop between the two goat areas,” or at Garfield Community Farm (Fannell Street, Garfield) past the water tower entrance.
Pittsburgh and Allegheny County also offer sustainable Christmas tree disposal services. They will accept tree deliveries at a variety of locations until Thu., Jan. 26 to be shredded into mulch for parks and gardens.