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Removing Buckthorn & Other Invasive Species

How can we biologically control invasive species? Buckthorn is one of Minnesota’s most aggressive and damaging invasive plants. The shrub, or small tree, is especially noticeable in woodlands where it can form dense thickets where few other plant species can co-exist. Despite its invasive nature, buckthorn can be successfully manipulated and managed. One way Kanati takes on invasives is by administering the help of goats.

How can landowners have access to the benefits of livestock grazing without the responsibility of ownership?

In the summer months, Kanati can simultaneously manage 3 to 4 goat paddocks at a time each on a different property. The goat herds depend on property size and available forgeable nutrients within the paddocks. The use of goats to biologically control buckthorn and other invasive species works best on young plants as they can only graze on buckthorn and other vegetation they can reach. A great alternative to herbicide treatments, goats can reduce the cover and height of aggressive non-native shrubs, while having little effect on native herbaceous cover and diversity

The goats are held in paddocks that divide the targeted areas. Paddocks are contained with solar-powered electric fencing that can be easily moved throughout the targeted property areas. The paddocks themselves and the health and wellbeing of the goats are monitored daily by our “Sheperd” employees and vet check-ups are routinely scheduled throughout the summer.

When introduced to graze repeatedly, the goats can deplete nutrient storage in the plant so that it no longer can thrive. It is important to consider several factors when considering goats as a biological treatment. These include the terrain of the targeted area, the density of the buckthorn, and its stage of growth. Goats are the best option for an area with a high-density of young buckthorn and other vegetation. The goats have performed with immense success as a biological treatment for buckthorn management and albeit, look adorable while doing so.

Has fighting invasive species ever looked so cute?


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