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Sheep vs. Lawnmowers: UC Campus Tests Which is Better to Maintain Grounds

Sheep were grazing the University of California–Davis campus this week in an academic experiment to see if the ewes can eat weeds and grass, fertilize, and control pests, as well as—or better than—using conventional landscaping methods.

The woolly ewes are part of a multidisciplinary study to explore the possibilities of saving the campus money and resources at the same time.

“My interest is taking the science on green infrastructure and sustainability and designing it so it’s interactive, beautiful and practical,” said A. Haven Kiers, assistant professor of landscape architecture in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, who is leading the project.

Kiers has hired student sheepherders to watch over the sheep’s three-day stay on the grassy area along Old Davis Road, adjacent to the UC Davis Arboretum.

Kiers is a longtime proponent of green infrastructure such as green roofs you can grow plants on, and urban landscapes that are aesthetically pleasing as well as ecologically productive. 

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