‘Goat-scapers’ will bring their appetite to Pitt’s Greensburg campus
Western Pennsylvania’s cutest landscapers will soon be back at work in Westmoreland County.
Two herds of goats from Allegheny Goatscape will begin clearing hillsides at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg on Sept. 24.
The herds — shepherded by their “guard donkeys,” Hobo and Diamond — will clear weeds and invasive plants on the hillside behind Academic Village, on the lower Lynch Drive area, on the hillside in front of the Robertshaw Residence Hall and in a shallow gully near the Millstein Library.
Goats are “browsers” who are drawn to the most nutritious plants in their vicinity. Those happen to be weeds, bushes, leaves and tree bark. The list of plants that they will eat includes nuisance plants like bull thistle, poison ivy and poison oak, as well as invasive plants like knotweed, honeysuckle and multiflora rose.
For university staff, the goats offer multiple advantages.
“First, the goats are a safe alternative to having our facilities staff using riding lawn mowers on a hillside or scaling a hillside to use trimmers on an area,” said Joseph Bleehash, director of facilities management. “Second, it is a sustainable option because it cuts down on our use of gas-powered equipment, which means we are reducing our carbon footprint.”
The goats are able to graze for nearly 20 hours out of every day.
“Goats will eat the plants down to the roots, which remain in the ground and prevent erosion,” Bleehash said. “The goats also will graze as high as they can reach, which is about six feet high when they stand on their hind legs. Water serves as a natural barrier to them, so we will have some temporary ramps in place where their grazing location requires them to move between both sides of Slate Run on our campus.”
Bleehash said the university’s social media accounts will be posting the goats’ progress.
Hobo the donkey and a group of goats were in Export over the summer, clearing a steep hillside above the borough’s park, and Norwin School District officials brought in a goat herd to clear land near their football stadium in August.
Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Patrick at 724-850-2862, [email protected] or via Twitter .