The Montreal Botanical Garden welcomes sheep and goats to fight weeds

Instead of relying on lawnmowers and manually removing weeds, the Montreal Botanical Garden turned to a team of nine sheep and two goats to do the job.

In partnership with La Biquette in Montreal and the Urban Agriculture Laboratory, the garden has opened its land so that research on the benefits of using sheep can continue.

The researchers want to analyze whether using sheep to control invasive weeds is a more practical and environmentally friendly alternative to herbicides.

“It’s eco-grazing, a way to manage green spaces in an alternative and ecological way,” said Marie-Ève ​​Julien-Denis, urban shepherdess at Biquette.

Eco-grazing at work

This is not the first time that sheep have been put to work in a Montreal green space.

For the past two years, Biquette has taken care of the sheep that landscaping the Parc Pélican de Rosemont.

But in addition to their ability to eat grass, the organization says sheep also have educational benefits.

Citizens can approach the animals and ask questions of the shepherds and volunteers caring for them.

Sheep are really good at eating. This is why the Montreal Botanical Garden welcomed them to its grounds. (Sarah Leavitt/CBC)

A welcome herd

The eight sheep, a ram and two goats are let loose in some of the Botanical Garden‘s open fields to do what they do best: eat.

“Everyone was very enthusiastic, not only to introduce the sheep to our visitors, but also to see what having sheep could do for controlling weeds and enriching our soils,” said Martine Bernier, director of public programs at Botanique Jardin.

But the animals leave on July 3 – they return to their usual work at Pelican Park before moving on to Maisonneuve Park.

Marie-Ève ​​Julien-Denis is an urban shepherdess at Biquette in Montreal. (Sarah Leavitt/CBC)

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