AUBURN – Auburn University and Tiger Dining will host an Arbor Day benefit, “All in for Toomer’s Trees,” from 12-4 p.m., Friday, April 29, on Samford Hall lawn. The event is open to the public and all proceeds will go to the Toomer’s Trees and Traditions Fund.
At 12:30 p.m., guests will be welcomed by Auburn University Vice President of Student Affairs Ainsley Carry; Vice President of Alumni Affairs Deborah Shaw; and City of Auburn Mayor Pro-Tempore Dick Phelan. Auburn horticulture professor Gary Keever will give an update on the status of the iconic oaks at Toomer’s corner which were damaged earlier this year.
AUBURN – When members of the Auburn Family learned the 130-year-old oaks at Toomer’s Corner had been poisoned and were not likely to survive, they responded with a spontaneous outpouring of both grief and high hopes for the health of the trees and the determination that the senseless crime would not break the Auburn spirit.
Many items were placed at the base of the oaks in tribute to what the historic trees have come to symbolize. They included personal articles, signs, get-well wishes from small children and moving tributes from current and former students. As efforts began in earnest to do everything possible to save the trees, the items had to be cleared away.
AUBURN – While the future of Auburn’s 130-year-old Toomer’s Oaks is uncertain, Auburn has had a plan since 2001 to grow potential replacements and to supply alumni and fans with their own Toomer’s Oaks seedlings.
“Due to the age of the trees, we knew a day would come that new trees might be needed,” said Scott Enebak, professor of forestry. “We were anticipating sometime around 2020 at the earliest, but unfortunately the recent poisoning may create a new timetable. We are doing all we can to save the trees, but if the worst happens, we have a plan in place.”
AUBURN – The student government associations and student leaders of Auburn University and the University of Alabama held a news conference in Auburn today to announce a joint venture that will be an expression of renewed unity.
SGA presidents Kurt Sasser of Auburn and James Fowler of Alabama described the project planned for both campuses and how they hope it will create a permanent and visible representation of mutual respect for the age-old rivalry between the two schools. Both student governments will plant two sister trees on each campus as a symbol of the shared bond between the two schools.
AUBURN – Auburn University has formed a task force to help save its famed Toomer’s Corner oak trees, bringing together experts in horticulture, agronomy, civil engineering, forestry, chemistry and landscape services.
– The task force (members list here) asks fans not to roll Toomer’s Corner or walk in the bedding area, which could further harm the trees.
– On Friday afternoon, workers put a tarp over the bedding area to keep rainwater from going into the roots. A fence was constructed around the bedding area as well.
– Soil removal begins early next week, and more soil samples will be taken during the process to determine the concentration of the herbicide at different depths. A tent will be constructed over the dig area to contain dust.
– Civil engineers will install small cylinders to monitor the downward spread of herbicide.
Future actions will be based on results of these steps. Updates will be added to the Toomer’s Oaks webpage at www.auburn.edu/oaks as work continues.
AUBURN – Auburn University today confirmed that an herbicide commonly used to kill trees was deliberately applied in lethal amounts to the soil around the Toomer’s Corner live oaks on campus, and there is little chance to save the trees. More information and ongoing updates as to treatment and prognosis are available at www.auburn.edu/oaks.
The City of Auburn Police Division is investigating the situation, and the application of this herbicide, known as Spike 80DF, or tebuthiuron, is also governed by state agricultural laws and the Environmental Protection Agency. The university does not use Spike herbicide. There is no reason to suspect any human danger from the herbicide, which manufacturer Dow Chemical says should be applied with proper clothing protection; a typical use of the herbicide is to kill trees along fence lines.
The university learned that a caller to The Paul Finebaum Show, a nationally syndicated radio show based in Birmingham, on Jan. 27, claimed he had applied the herbicide. As a precaution, soil samples were taken the next day and sent to the Alabama State Pesticide Residue Laboratory on campus for analysis. Due to a small fire that occurred in the Alabama lab in December, the tests were sent to the lab at Mississippi State University in Starkville, Miss., to expedite results.