To quote “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”, “I’m not dead yet!”
Such is the case with the Toomer’s Corner tree poisoning incident.
Initially given a slim-to-none chance of surviving, Auburn officials have now said that lower amounts of the herbicide Spike 80DF were found in the top 6-8 inches of the soil surrounding the two live oak trees than originally feared.
Much of the top layer of the soil has been removed and replaced with a charcoal mix to try and absorb remaining traces of the herbicide in the week following the initial report.
“The good news is the concentrations are much lower than we initially detected in the beds around the trees. The bad news is we still detected herbicide,” said AU professor of horticulture Gary Keever. Keever has been on the task force assigned to try and save the trees.
“Is your glass half full or half empty? You can look at it either way. I choose to be an optimist because we’re doing the right thing.”
Auburn officials believe a four-pound box of Spike 80DF was used to poison the trees — enough to cover an acre — but aren’t sure how much of the herbicide was absorbed. Tests Monday will be conducted to see if ground water has been contaminated.
Harvey Updyke, the man suspected of poisoning the trees, was arrested shortly after supposedly calling a radio show to announce the act. He was released on $50,000 bail on Feb. 18, and according to the Birmingham News, has been living in his car by a creek somewhere in Alabama.