TOWSON, Md. (WJZ) — Towson University sits on a sprawling 300 acres, with stately buildings and manicured lawns across its campus. But some areas are harder to maintain than others, leading the school to turn to goats to keep them under control.
Biologist and professor Jim Hull said invasive vegetation has become a significant issue in The Glen, a ten-acre forest on campus.
“The vegetation of invasive species is so thick, that largely, you can’t walk through it and you can’t work in it,” he said.
Hull and students tried to remove the prickly, leafy plants by hand, but when that didn’t work, they switched from brute force to goat force.
For two days, 20 goats will eat everything in sight, clearing The Glen of pesky invasive plants that can kill native ones.
“It’s like getting rid of cancer,” Hull said. “Are you healthier if you get rid of cancer? Yes!”
Among the invasive species found in the forest are mile-a-minute weed and porcelain berry.
It’s not just a problem at Towson; Roni Cassilly rents her goat herd to others who need to get a handle on their invasive species invasions.
“This is our second time in this plot. The first time you literally couldn’t see the buildings right there because the vines were so thick,” Cassilly said.
Once the goats leave, student volunteers will remove as many roots as they can before planting 600 perennials, 30 native trees and some shrubs.