Salt Lake City School District turns to living method of controlling weeds at elementary school

Posted at 7:13 PM, Jun 27, 2015
and last updated 2015-06-27 23:45:40-04

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Goats are the solution for weed control at one elementary school in Salt Lake City. The Salt Lake City School District hired them to help clear out a field on a hillside behind a school they’re preparing to landscape.

D' Goat Ranch brought 100 goats to the southeast corner of Washington Elementary Friday night to eat weeds on the three acres of property.

“They’ll work for several days,” shepherd Frank DeVito said. “They’ll be moving back and forth throughout here for another day and a half, two days.”

D’ Goat Ranch, based in Fielding, rents out goats to help people clear their property of weeds.

“In the process, they’ll clear up this dense vegetation will all be cleared up, you’ll be able to see clear up to the sidewalk, up here,” DeVito said.

Mark Ruff with the Salt Lake City School District says he heard about using goats to remove weeds and thought it would be perfect for a 3-acre plot of land behind Washington Elementary that needed clearing before it could be landscaped.

“They jumped out of the trailer, basically unloaded them, and they started eating immediately,” he said.

Ruff said: “And when I got here about 9:15 this morning, you could see a big difference. The south end of the property is already down, a lot of it. So, it’s amazing!”

DeVito says the goats are a good alternative to Weed Wackers and herbicides, which can be harmful to kids and the environment.

“Disposal of waste is minimized, so it’s really advantageous for anybody who’s interested in having some growth taken away and vegetation taken away from their properties,” DeVito said.

Nearby residents and neighborhood kids stopped by to spend time with the animals.

“They’re funny to watch because they make weird sounds when they’re eating and you can hear them stepping around at night,” said Izaiah Madrid.

When the goats are finished eating the weeds, the school district plans to plant native vegetation on the hillside.

“Something that’s good for the valley, drought tolerant, I mean, obviously with the water situation we’re going through now, we want to use as less water as possible,” Ruff said.

DeVito, the shepherd, will be taking all the goats back to the ranch Monday afternoon. He said most of the weeds should be cleared out of the property by then.