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Pomfret: Using Nature’s Lawnmowers To Keep Weeds And Brush in Check

Pomfret: Using Nature’s Lawnmowers To Keep Weeds And Brush in Check

In 2015, Amazon announced plans to start letting customers rent goats to mow lawns and clear brush. Three years later, the idea has caught on as a quirky, cost-saving measure. In New Haven’s Edgewood Park goats are eating invasive species and poison ivy. In Pomfret the goats will have the distinct pleasure of dining with the dead: they’re being used to clear brush around delicate and centuries old gravestones at Dennis Cemetery.

Though the centuries old cemetery only holds seven headstones, their advanced age makes taking care of the stones that much more difficult. Each individual in the plot was born in the 18th century, with a majority being born before the United States of America was even a country.

First Selectwoman Maureen Nicholson commented in a piece from the Norwich Bulletin that “weed whackers can damage stones and herbicides aren’t the best way to deal with the issue,” and seeing a herd of goats a neighbor’s house “was a little like divine inspiration.” 

The only problem back to top

The only problem according to Nicholson is that “not every cemetery has a heard of goats nearby.”

Per the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB), “a general rule of thumb is that ten goats will clear an acre in about one month.”

At the June 18 Board of Selectmen meeting the board unanimously approved the application for a grant from the Neglected Cemeteries Account in the amount of $2000. The money would go towards brush clearing and stone and wall repairs in cemeteries, of which there are about 10 that officials have struggled to maintain, per Nicholson.

The grant is expended by the Office of Policy and Management (OPM) for neglected burial grounds and cemeteries, where there is more than six places of interment, there is no controlling association, and has become dilapidated or overgrown with brush, briars, or weeds.

A goat could cost anywhere from from $25 for a kid or wether to upwards of $300 for a breeding doe. If Pomfret gets their $2000 grant, they could reasonably purchase between 7 and 80 goats, depending their choice of goat. UAPB says that a typical charge to rent goats is $1 per goat per day.