Weed? Grass? What’s the difference?

7 Sep

Well, if you’re a human, “weed” and “grass” may seem to be the same thing. But if you were a goat … well, there’s a world of difference. And this distinction may provide some interesting options for controlling scrub.


Did you know? Goats prefer weeds over grass; they also seem to like sticky, thorny plants. Go figure. They even eat kudzu! I love ’em already.

Now, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to conclude that those strips of amber waves of weeds along our roads are a result of insane amounts of Roundup (or some other nasty equivalent). And it certainly doesn’t require any particular level of astuteness to observe that Maryland scrub plants and climbers can take over pretty much any vegetation, if left to their own organic and natural devices.

Of course, there are a ton of issues to consider with using goats for weed control. Including supervising (that’s herding) the goats. The great thing about this possibility is that our county, or individual property owners, could be at the vanguard of an environmental integrity program without having to be the actual pilot program. Plenty of other municipalities are using goats, and technical assistance programs are readily available.

Like anything, this possibility is just one solution, one angle, one approach inside a very large and complex issue. But wouldn’t it be something to look out of your window one lazy afternoon, and rather than hearing (and smelling) weed whackers and large mowers tearing down encroaching scrub, you’d look out and see a herd of goats happily stripping invasives of their leaves?

A little bucolic heaven in the midst of our suburban fortress …


Hey, I want to thank my Hometown Columbia readers who recently commented, albeit lightly, on the Lonely Goat Herder song from the “Sound of Music.” It triggered my thoughts about goats and goat herding. Now, y’all be careful about clicking on this link above, as you may get this song caught in your head again. 🙂

Tidbit: Goats as an all-around good thing came to my attention when I read Barbara Kingsolver’s book, Prodigal Summer: one of my favorite books, and I highly recommend it.


5 Responses to “Weed? Grass? What’s the difference?”

  1. Freemarket September 7, 2007 at 12:48 pm #

    I actually have four goats that keep the weeds down on a section of my property. The spoiled brats prefer cheerios and graham crackers to weeds. Yoda layee hee hoo!

  2. wordbones September 7, 2007 at 3:21 pm #

    Thanks Jessie,
    I had finally gotten that song out of my head and now you go and bring it up again!



  3. Kate Dino September 7, 2007 at 8:04 pm #

    If you go to Scooters on Route 1 you can already see the goats.

  4. Wendy August 27, 2008 at 7:09 am #

    First of all, when I saw the headline on my RSS, I was sure you were writing about that other kind of grass/weed. LOL.

    Next, my kid just received a gift of a goat to a family in the third world (heifer.org) from a family friend in honor of his bar mitzvah. Cool, huh?

  5. JessieX October 7, 2013 at 10:37 am #

    More exploration of eco-goats in Hoco – http://goo.gl/d8UjI6

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