'They had experience'; Vandals trash thousands of plants in county nursery

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'They had experience'; Vandals trash thousands of plants in county nursery

By Maggie Vespa. CREATED Oct 8, 2013

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Vicious vandals wreaked havoc on the west side, and there's a twist! Experts say these thugs have a serious green thumb.

You can think of the mound as a plant graveyard.

"This was a rosewood here," said Steve Steward holding up a root.

"It's frustrating definitely," he said.

The pile of soil and slaughtered seedlings is the product of someone's perfect, poisonous plan.

"Whoever did this had some nursery experience or some horticultural experience," said Steward.

He manages the Pima County Native Plant Nursery and says last month, someone bent and hopped this barbed wire fence after hours and doused thousands of bushes, trees, and shrubs with a deadly poison.

"They knew how to mix chemicals.  They knew what to use," said Steward.

And they knew how to make sure these plants don't bounce back in time beautify your roadways.

That includes La cholla near Magee, where many of these were supposed to put down roots.

"It almost brings tears to my eyes," said one woman.

Those passing by have one question.

"What's the point?  I don't understand what the point is," said a Tucson man.  "All you do is damage our city!"

His is a confusion shared by Steward, as he and his staff begin growing, what he calls, 'the next generation'.

The process will take years.

"Definitely frustrates you," he said.  "A lot of work put in; a lot of work wasted."

Steward says these vandals racked up more than $30,000 in damages.

Pima County officials are offering $2,500 for information that leads to an arrest.