Florida neighborhood using goats to remove invasive plants

Florida neighborhood using goats to remove invasive plants
People living in one Florida subdivision said invasive plants are destroying the neighborhood’s beautiful landscape and came up with an interesting way of dealing with it -- goats. (WFTV.com/WFTV.com)

WINDERMERE, Fla. — People living in one Florida subdivision said invasive plants are destroying the neighborhood’s beautiful landscape and came up with an interesting way of dealing with it -- goats.

The neighborhood in Windermere decided a run-of-the-mill landscaper wouldn’t do, so it hired goats to do the job instead.

Goats in a field chewing away on grass and leaves isn’t unusual until you realize the field is part of the Silver Wood subdivision in the heart of Windermere.

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“We bring them in, and they clear areas like this,” said Carol Etscovitz, of Rent-A-Ruminant.

The goats work in areas that are overgrown and, in this case, overrun by invasive plants are killing trees that could topple over and hurt someone.

“There’s, like, eight types of invasive species back there,” said Zach Capps, a homeowners association president.

Capps sought a traditional solution at first.

“Their remedy was to dump a bunch of chemicals. We weren’t excited to do it for two different reasons. One, it’s pretty expensive to do,” Capps said.

The goats eat the brush in an eco-friendly way, and they go where people and machines cannot go easily and safely.

“They need no incentive. They work for food,” Etscovitz said.

The subdivision wants to turn the land into a green space.