Herds for hire! Here’s a new way to get rid of invasive plants, pesticide-free

Rent-a-ruminant offers homeowners a new way to get rid of those pesky weeds

Here’s a new way to get rid of invasive plants, pesticide-free
Here’s a new way to get rid of invasive plants, pesticide-free

ORLANDO, Fla. – If you’ve ever tried to keep up with the maintenance of your house yard or business, you’ve realized it’s a lot of work -- especially when weeds and overgrown brushes get out of control. But, Rent-A-Ruminant is now in central Florida to get rid of those invasive species.

“These are a very Eco-logical way to come in, clear out the invasive stuff and then you come in and get rid of what’s left,” Carol Etscovitz, goat wrangler for Rent-A-Ruminant said.

Etscovitz was hired with her herd of 25 goats by the Homeowners Association for Silver Woods, a residential community in Windermere, Orange county.

"There's a chain of lakes that are surrounding so you don't want to spray herbicides on these plants," Etscovitz said.

The HOA said in a statement via email: "We noticed the area becoming more and more inundated with what looked to be invasive species and the traditional Florida plants and landscape getting overwhelmed, crowded out, and dying off. Vines were even climbing up and killing tall pine trees, causing a potential hazard for the road."

Instead of using chemicals and pesticides they contacted Etscovitz who is based in Myaka city, Manatee county.

She’s been on-site for more than a week where the goats have cleared more than 80 feet by 200 feet of space. The Nubian, Pygmy, Nigerian Dwarfs and mixed goats eat invasive species like grapevine, potato vine and even unwanted palmetto leaves.

“They’re killing the pine trees, they’re just smothering everything. If you look at the blanket of grapevine, there’s nothing underneath it,” Etscovitz said. “Everything is dead underneath it. Once you get rid of them, your native stuff has a chance to come back up.”

But before the goats start chewing away, Etscovitz makes sure the animals aren’t in danger.

“Before we ever put the goats on-site, we come in, we do a site assessment to make sure there are no toxic plants. If there are, we either fence them off or remove them, if that’s possible,” the franchise owner said.

Rent-A-Ruminant says the goats can get rid of about 90% of the invasive vegetation in one project.

Etscovitz says they are the first rent-a-ruminant in Florida and will drive a radius of 200 miles to get the job done.

If you’re interested in goat services, check out the following links:

Contact Rent-A-Ruminant in Florida: http://www.rentaruminant.com/florida-491714.html

Email Carol and Dave Etscovitz: CD@rentaruminant.com

Contact via Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RentaRuminant

About the Author:

Carolina Cardona highlights all Central Florida has to offer in her stories on News 6 at Nine. She joined News 6 in June 2018 from the Telemundo station in Philadelphia.