Today’s New York Times has a piece on Tennessee’s attempts to control kudzu, an extremely invasive plant, using a “four-legged alternative to herbicide,” that is, goats. The Chattanooga Public Works Department has had great success clearing public land of kudzu using goats, especially on steep, hard-to-reach slopes and hillsides. The project, however, has not been without a few chuckles:
“Usually, in dealing with this, you’ve got to get people past the laugh factor,” said Jerry Jeansonne, a city forestry inspector and the program’s self-described “goat dude.”
Despite the humorous overtones to the city’s methods, the program represents an environmentally friendly effort to grapple with a real problem in Chattanooga and the South.
The article also drops great kudzu trivia: Did you know that kudzu was once called “the miracle vine” and during the Depression the federal government paid farmers to plant it? Amazing.