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City's deer topiaries succumb to root rot

By REPORTER STAFF
Mercer Island Reporter Staff
October 15, 2013 · Updated 5:16 PM
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The topiary deer in the Park on the Lid, at the base of First Hill, will be permanently removed by the city after turning brown from poor soil conditions. The topiaries were also targeted by vandals. / Mary L. Grady/Staff Photo

The deer topiaries in the Park on the Lid, at the base of First Hill, will be permanently removed by the city after turning brown from poor soil conditions. Efforts to water, fertilize and specially treat the roots all failed.

After testing, Parks and Recreation diagnosed one of the topiaries with root rot, which results from an aggressive, harmful bacteria that can be contracted by other plants nearby. Vandalism was also a problem.

“The Arts Council voted at their Oct. 5 retreat not to fund the replacement of the deer due to the continued vulnerability of the plants to disease and vandalism,” Ross Freeman, the city’s sustainability and communications manager, said. “Topiary plants are a specialty item that are not a conventional component of the city’s parks, and long-term maintenance would have been an ongoing challenge.”

The three topiaries, moonglow junipers cultivated in Oregon, were planted in the park in December of 2012 and cost a total of $4,500.

 

 


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