Eco-Grazing: Lawn Mowers and Herbicide Kicked to the Curb

What if someone told you that you would never have to mow again if you made this one purchase? What if there was a way to eliminate herbicide and fertilizer from your spring shopping list? The people in charge of a park in Paris say this is all possible if people abandon their lawn mowers and turn to eco-grazing.

What is eco-grazing, exactly? In Paris, it’s the act of purchasing sheep and placing them in the area that needs mowing. The sheep then munch away, keeping the grass at an acceptable length, with no maintenance from you. Not only that, but they “fertilize” the grass through regular bodily functions, taking one more item off of your to-do list. Eco-grazing also has the perk of eliminating noisy lawnmowers and the pollution they deposit into the park’s air.

This practice became widely recognized when it was put into practice in Paris in the spring of 2013. Four small black sheep were purchased for around 335 US dollars. Named Ouessant sheep, but known as lawnmower sheep to Paris locals, these little fluff balls only get to about one to one and a half feet tall, making them easy to handle for the Paris park groundskeepers. The sheep are kept in the park by a high electric fence and a security guard. They spend approximately fifteen days tending to the park, and then take a break and spend some leisurely time at a local Paris farm.

The people in charge of this operation said they hope for success in this program, as it a relatively inexpensive way to go eco-friendly while still making the park an enjoyable place to be. Although this is most likely a first in such a heavily populated area, this isn’t the first time eco-grazing came into effect. Sheep have been available for rent in a college town in Ohio before Paris made this idea well known.

Sheep aren’t the only animal you can send grazing in your lawn, however. Goats have also become a popular choice. Not only are goats also small and easy to manage, but they eat just about any herb-y plant you put in front of them. Goat grazing is a tad more widespread in the United States, with the practice happening in Oregon, Ohio, and Los Angeles. Goats are more ideal for areas that have become overgrown with invasive plants and unwanted vegetation, as grass is not their food of choice.

With a little research, you may find that eco-grazing isn’t as uncommon as you might think. With the purchase of a grass loving animal and a fence to keep them in, you will have a lifelong mower that requires little to no maintenance and extra costs. If you are really feeling adventurous, start up your own eco-grazing operation. Spread the love of low-cost mowing, free fertilizer, and no more gas emissions for that pesky lawnmower.

Written by Mike West, owner of WestCo Grounds Maintenance. WestCo provides the best solutions to lawn care Jefferson City MO has to offer. They also specialize in irrigation and lawn sprinkler service.

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