Orange County

Windermere subdivision using goats to destroy invasive plants

WINDERMERE, Fla. — People who live in a Windermere subdivision said invasive plants is destroying the neighborhood’s beautiful landscape, but they’ve got an interesting way of dealing with it.

Channel 9′s Q McCray found out the problem is so bad, the neighborhood decided a run-of-the-mill landscaper wouldn’t do, so it hired goats to do the job instead.

Goats in a field chewing away on grass and leaves isn’t unusual until you realize the field is part of the Silver Wood subdivision in the heart of Windermere.

“We bring them in, and they clear areas like this,” said Carol Etscovitz, of Rent-A-Ruminant.

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Areas overgrown and, in this case, overrun by invasive plants are killing trees that could topple over and hurt someone.

“There’s, like, eight types of invasive species back there,” said Zach Capps, a homeowner’s association president.

Capps sought a traditional solution at first.

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“Their remedy was to dump a bunch of chemicals. We weren’t excited to do it for two different reasons. One, it’s pretty expensive to do,” Capps said.

The goats eat the brush in an eco-friendly way, and they go where people and machines cannot go easily and safely.

“They need no incentive. They work for food,” Etscovitz said.

The subdivision wants to turn the land into a green space.

Q Mccray

Q McCray,

Q McCray is an award-winning general assignment reporter.

Katlyn Brieskorn,

Katlyn Brieskorn is a Digital Assignment Editor at WFTV. She joined Channel 9 in July 2019.