Goats to take bite out of Austin’s poison ivy problem

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin could soon be using goats to get rid of poison ivy around city parks and trails.

The Austin Parks Foundation and the Austin Parks and Recreation Department launched its pilot project at the Umlauf Sculpture Garden Tuesday, using grazing goats to combat the masses of poison ivy that flourishes in the hot, humid summer months.

Grazing goats eat poison ivy and are not allergic, so they can clear up large areas of poison ivy in just a few hours.

“It’s a more sustainable way to get rid of poison ivy,” said Colin Wallis, the executive director of Austin Parks Foundation. “Instead of spraying herbicide or fungicide to kill the poison ivy, turns out goats love to eat it. We’re doing a little contained pilot project here to see how it works, with the hope that we can spread it and do it here in Austin on a later date.”

“It is a very Austin way of getting rid of the poison ivy,” added Nina Seely, executive director of Umlauf Sculpture Garden. “It helps keep the chemicals away from all of this. You’re also not weed eating something that will grow back. And what I understand is that once they take away the leaves and flowering of all this poison ivy, it actually kills it and it won’t grow again. Hopefully it goes away forever.”

If the pilot project goes well, grazing goats could become the conventional method of clearing up poison ivy around Austin’s parks and trails.

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