It’s been a little over six months since Alabama “fan” Harvey Updyke allegedly poisoned Auburn’s Toomer’s Corner oaks, and it’s been thought for most of that time that it was a matter when, not if, the trees would succumb to the chemicals criminally placed into the soil.
While that may still ultimately be the case, the trees are still among the living. And one expert who’s helped save them sounds slightly optimistic that they’ll continue to be around to be rolled following a Tigers win. Or, at least, slightly more optimistic than people have been over the past half year.
Because of the poison, the trees are going through, the Associated Press writes, cycles of sprouting and shedding leaves, with the leaves that have been examined showing signs of the herbicide Updyke allegedly used. Auburn horticulturalist Gary Keever said that there are some positive signs seen of late, but the trees are far from out of the woods, so to speak.
“I don’t want to give a sense of false hope, but we’re not ready to say they’re definitely not going to make it,” Keever told the AP.
“After the yellowing, browning and dropping off, the buds break out again and new, immature leaves will form. It’s good that they still have the stored food reserves to do this.”
In fact, the trees are doing so much better that there’s a possibility that the rolling of Toomer’s Corner — i.e. TPing the trees — could possibly be permitted this year.
Updyke pleaded not guilty in May to two felony counts of first-degree criminal mischief, two felony counts for unlawful damage, vandalism or theft of property from a farm animal or crop facility and two misdemeanor counts of desecrating a venerated object. He had been scheduled to go to trial on the charges this month, but his court date has been pushed back until later this year.