A natural alternative to mowing

Historically, grazing animals helped shape Houston’s ecosystems by periodically clearing vegetation and redistributing soil nutrients by churning up dirt and dropping manure. Urban development pushed large grazers like bison and deer away, allowing dense thickets to grow and reducing the diversity of plants and animals.

The Arboretum is too small and centrally located to maintain a reintroduced population of grazers, but we can partner with private ranchers to temporarily introduce goats. Since 2020, the Arboretum has worked with Rent-A-Ruminant Texas on a yearly basis to bring goats to the site. This first-of-its-kind concept in the middle of urban Houston has provided a new and engaging way of managing overgrown landscapes, and the Conservation staff are monitoring results to develop improvements to the technique.

Upcoming Goat Visits:

Goat Viewing Tips

  • Stay on sidewalks or trails
  • Keep children and dogs away from the fence – it is electrified to keep predators like coyotes out of the area
  • Do not try to feed or pet the goats
  • Do take lots of photos – if you post them on social media, tag @houstonarboretum so we can see and share them!

Photo credit Anthony Rathbun

Support the Houston Arboretum

The Houston Arboretum & Nature Center is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization which depends on donations to support nature education and conservation programs for Houstonians of all ages.

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The Arboretum grounds, including the trails and Nature Playscape, will REOPEN on Thursday, July 18! All classes and events through Sunday, July 21 have been cancelled, and the Nature Center building remains closed at this time.