Have Ewe Herd??
Trees Atlanta’s four-legged employees are baaaack!
Local tree-planting non-profit Trees Atlanta announced the return of our favorite four-legged employees: sheep! Several sheep from local company Shady Brook Sheep will resume their task of eating and eliminating invasive plants in several greenspaces throughout Atlanta over the next six months.
Trees Atlanta’s education and outreach program surrounding the sheep initiative, presented by Wells Fargo, is called “Have Ewe Herd??” and the program features several “Meet the Sheep” events throughout the year so that the Atlanta public can come to the site, see the sheep for themselves, and ask questions.
Invasive plants like kudzu and English ivy are among the most aggressive and detrimental plants in the southeast. In addition to planting trees, Trees Atlanta is committed to removing these invasive plants from as many greenspaces as possible, because it will improve the health of Atlanta’s collective urban forest, as well as clear the way for the future planting of native trees.
Kudzu in particular can grow up to a foot a day, and does its worst damage to trees by smothering them, blocking the tree’s leaves from vital sunlight, and impeding photosynthesis (the process by which trees make their food).
Trees Atlanta is often faced with extensive invasive plant removal in the greenspaces where it works to preserve existing tree canopy and replant young trees, and typically, the non-profit uses multiple applications of herbicide to eliminate the pesky plants. Though the chemicals are applied by licensed professionals and used as sparingly as possible, Trees Atlanta is constantly seeking invasive plant control methods that are more environmentally-friendly. Learn more about our forest restoration program here.
Enter the sheep herd! Sheep eat all kinds of plants, including invasive plants like the ones aforementioned. Their appetites are big and they do not mind eating all day.
“Sheep offer a low-impact solution for controlling invasive plants on sites,” said Trees Atlanta Forest Restoration Coordinator, Brian Williams. “As long as the sites do not contain sensitive or endangered plants that we want to keep safe, sheep can graze and help us eliminate invasive plants until they are gone,” he continued.
The sheep in this program are protected by a human shepherd and guard dogs, and the sites are surrounded by electrified temporary fencing to keep the sheep safe and on-task while they are working.
Funding for Trees Atlanta’s forest restoration program, including the sheep, comes from The Rich Foundation. The “Have Ewe Herd??” educational programs are sponsored by Wells Fargo. The sheep will graze in parks and greenspaces around Atlanta, thanks to a partnership with the Atlanta Parks Department.