By Bruce Karnick [email protected] Buckthorn is a nuisance plant that invades forests and chokes out natural underbrush. It is difficult for humans to remove once it establishes a good base …
By Bruce Karnick
Buckthorn is a nuisance plant that invades forests and chokes out natural underbrush. It is difficult for humans to remove once it establishes a good base because it becomes very dense with thick trunks. It cannot be treated with chemicals until it is cut to a few inches from the ground, and that treatment can take multiple seasons.
What is a human to do? Easy! Hire goats to eat the Buckthorn. That is what the folks who take care of Oakwood Cemetery did via a fundraiser, a ‘Goat-fundme” if you will. Hastings Environmental Protectors and Hastings Area Historical Society, led by Cindy Thury Smith, started the go-fundme to raise $1500 for the ‘rental’ of the goats to clear out about two acres of the abandoned Oakwood Cemetery.
There are 61 goats in a fenced in area of Oakwood. Of those 61 goats, there are about 20 babies. The goats will be on the property for about two weeks. Folks are encouraged to go visit the goats simply because they are adorable. But be warned, the fence that is up inside the cemetery grounds, is a 12v electrical fence. It not super powerful, but it does not feel good if you are surprised by it. The other warning is, the goats may not be visible depending on where they are on the property.
According to the go-fundme: Oakwood it is maintained by a crew of dedicated volunteers. While our spirit is mighty our numbers are few. In the fall of 2019, we gathered at Oakwood to try to manually remove buckthorn from this remnant of oak savannah.
Buckthorn is an invasive shrub that outcompetes native trees and shrubs. It sprouts aggressively but only the larger shrubs produce the berries which birds ingest and spread. The buckthorn at Oakwood is so thick we cannot get to the “mother plants” to trim them. Goats are an effective, environmentally friendly way to remove the greenery and allow thinning.
The area to be cleared has been divided into four sections, each of which will cost $750.00 for buckthorn removal by goats. Ideally, if we could treat the entire area once, then come back the next year to do spot cleanup we could get ahead of this aggressive plant. Therefore, we are hoping to initially raise $1,500.00 for goat rental which would clear half of the area. If we are lucky enough to raise $3,000, we can clear the entire area (or a total of $5,000.00 to include follow up cleanup next year).
If you would like to contribute to the goat fund, find the details here. https:// www.gofundme.com/f/ goat-fund-me-for-oakwood- cemetery?qid=5bd-9c94bb0d2a244a97aff7938f-8b31a
“Pie” is one of the 61 goats, each of whom have names, that have been brought in to Oakwood Cemetary to help remove invasive Buckthorn and other brush. Photo by Bruce Karnick.