Lauren Burns owns Tending Tilth, a Portage contract sheep grazing business that provides a unique option for mowing grass and brush. The company’s wooly eaters have been hired to chomp away on everything from small lawns to tall grass and nuisance bushes and plants at Mayors Riverfront, Woods Lake and Spring Lake parks for the city of Kalamazoo.
“Our sheep love to mow/graze steep hillsides and eat invasive and nuisance plant species like poison ivy, wild grapevine and Japanese knotweed,” says Burns.
And lest you think it would just be cute to have sheep do your gardening, Burns notes that there’s also a big advantage to the environment.
“The conservation aspect to the work we do is huge. No fossil fuels are used, except to transport the animals,” says Burns. “Sheep specialize in grazing a variety of landscapes, including steep hills. While moving through a landscape, sheep hooves aerate the soil and their manure fertilizes, helping to build topsoil. Healthy topsoil promotes plant root growth, sequesters carbon and improves watershed function.”
But, yes, they are cute.