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Irwin Park Goat Initiative

Helping to install the fence for the goats in Irwin Park are: (l to r) Larry Cihanek of Green-Goats, Max Schauer, Andrew Wilson and Kevin Bruner of Boy Scout Troop 70, John Wyman, Alice Wyman and Tracy Merrill of the New Canaan Garden Club.

The goats have arrived! Welcome Bella, Chalupa, Bo, Stewie, and Miss Bo Peep! The New Canaan Garden Club has partnered with the Town of New Canaan to bring goats to Irwin Park to help eradicate the highly invasive Japanese knotweed.

Nicknamed “Godzilla weed,” knotweed, with its deeply-penetrating rhizomes, is steadily overtaking sections of Irwin Park threatening native species and encroaching on the Flexi-pave path. (Japanese knotweed can have roots as deep as ten feet and it has been known to grow through concrete!)

As a greener more environmentally friendly alternative to the use of herbicides, the Garden Club has hired Larry and Annlilita Cihanek of Green-Goats to rid the Park of this noxious weed. As the goats continually eat the plants, they weaken the root systems, eventually killing the plants. Once the goats chew the knotweed to the ground, they will be returned home for a short time so the plants can regenerate. They will then be returned to the Park to chew the regrowth. This process will take at least two growing seasons to accomplish.

For the past 13 years a number of national, state, city, and town parks, cemeteries, colleges, and golf courses in six states have used Green-Goats to eliminate weeds and invasive plants. The New Canaan Garden Club along with other volunteers are responsible for providing fresh water for the goats daily and Green-Goats will check on them weekly. Please come by and say hello to them but remember…do not feed them! They are in the Park to eat the knotweed.

If you would like to support the “Goat Initiative,” the Garden Club is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and contributions are most welcomed. Donations can be made online or checks can be made out to the New Canaan Garden Club (“Goat Initiative” in memo line) and mailed to NCGC, PO Box 1553, New Canaan, CT 06840.