Nearly a year and a half after they were allegedly poisoned by a rival “fan”, the venerable Toomer’s Corner oaks on Auburn’s campus are still hanging in there.
Speaking to WLTZ-TV, AU horticulturist Gary Keever sounded guardedly optimistic on the future of the historic trees due to what appears to be signs of growth over the past few months.
“This means the trees still have food, and are still alive,” Keever said of the growth. ”This gives us hope that the trees might make it if they are starting to produce more foliage.”
While it’s long been assumed that the oaks would not survive the damage wrought by the pesticides, the thought of the trees actually making it is not exactly a foreign concept; back in July, Keever said he “[doesn't] want to give a sense of false hope, but we’re not ready to say they’re definitely not going to make it.”
The station’s website wrote that Keever and other university officials will go up in a lift on Friday to check the leaf development and the branches at the top of the trees.
Harvey Updyke, the man accused of spreading Spike 80DF into the soil around the trees after the 2010 Auburn-Alabama game, was arrested in February of last year and originally charged with felony first-degree criminal mischief. Three months later, he was officially charged with 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.
The case was scheduled to go to trial March 5 of this year, but was delayed late last month at the request of Updyke’s attorney. No new trial date has been set, although another hearing will be held March 14 to hear motions presented by both the defense and prosecution.
(Tip O’ the Cap: al.com)