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Updyke’d: Toomer’s Corner oaks to be removed after one final roll

Alabama A M Auburn Football AP

In the end, the heroic efforts to save Auburn’s historic trees were for naught.

Auburn announced Friday that the university is planning one final roll of the famed Toomer’s Corner oaks this spring.  A tradition that date backs to the 1950s, the last rolling of the trees will take place following the Tigers’ spring game April 20.

At some point after the spring game, the poisoned oaks will be removed, although a specific date has not been set.

“The Oaks at Toomer’s Corner have been a part of Auburn tradition for generations,” Debbie Shaw, Auburn University vice president for alumni affairs and executive director of the Auburn Alumni Association, said in a statement. “Their removal will in no way diminish the Auburn Spirit, which has grown even stronger during these past two years.”

In February of 2011, it was reported that the trees had been poisoned during the prior year’s Alabama-Auburn Iron Bowl game.  The person (allegedly) responsible for the poisoning was Harvey Updyke, a lifelong “fan” of the Crimson Tide who was arrested shortly after the news broke.

In May of 2011, Updyke was indicted on two counts of first-degree criminal mischief, a felony charge; two counts of desecrating a venerated object, a misdemeanor charge; and two counts of unlawful damage, vandalism or theft of property from a farm animal or crop facility, a felony charge.

After going through multiple attorneys and requesting multiple delays, Updyke has yet to stand trial.  At least for now, the next trial date has been scheduled to commence April 8.

At various points in time over the past two years, there have been positive reports that the trees could possibly survive sprinkled amidst the doom and gloom, although AU’s release stated that “members of the university’s Tree Preservation Committee say they do not see the possibility of survival.”

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53 Responses to “Updyke’d: Toomer’s Corner oaks to be removed after one final roll”
  1. kattykathy says: Feb 1, 2013 6:10 PM

    Them Bama fans sure are classy, huh?

  2. centexhorn says: Feb 1, 2013 6:28 PM

    So sad. Let this be a cautionary tale. Don’t let your fandom turn personal. It’s just a game. There are more important things in the world, despite what we might think sometimes.

  3. cometkazie says: Feb 1, 2013 6:34 PM


    Ole Harvey was picked up in Louisiana not too long ago on some new charges. Didn’t follow the story.

  4. kozbee says: Feb 1, 2013 6:42 PM

    I grew up just south of Auburn and can remember back when i was in my teens riding my bicycle thru there going to Toomers drugs.Now im 63 years old and it hurts to see the Oaks coming down.Got my degree from AU and can remember all the good fun times just being there to roll the trees.I`ll be there for the last time come April and imo its something of a tradition that my family got to watch.My understanding they will grow new Oaks so my grand children can be part of the same great tradition that the older generation enjoyed.WDE AUBURN Tigers.

  5. be4bama says: Feb 1, 2013 6:51 PM

    Chatty Cathy I’ve seen your post. You know nothing about class. The man that did this is a few cards short of a full deck. In other words he’s crazy as a Betsy bug.

  6. kozbee says: Feb 1, 2013 6:56 PM


    His arrest was over returning a lawn mower.

  7. smcgaels1997 says: Feb 1, 2013 6:57 PM

    Every team, in every city has a group of whacko fans…just get this guy on trial already for god sakes…sad that trees that have been on this earth for that long are taken out by a loser piece of trash like Updyke

  8. normtide says: Feb 1, 2013 7:02 PM

    As an Alabama fan, this sickens me. I have many friends who are strong AU supporters, I know what the trees mean to them. Been many prayers sent forward for their survival.

    I apologize to the Auburn Family for the actions of a sick, deranged, and psychotic member of the Tide fanbase. He had already been banned from any Tide functions, including all sports activity. There is also no doubt he will serve prison time. Neither of those make up for his stupidity, nothing can. Personally, I believe he should never leave a mental facility.

  9. thraiderskin says: Feb 1, 2013 7:02 PM

    Why did you put fan in quotes… Updyke IS a fan of the Tide, he is just a jerk of a fan, which every teams has.

  10. cometkazie says: Feb 1, 2013 7:04 PM

    Thanks, Koz, it’s been longer than I thought.

    I thought Albany was a small, close-knit community.

  11. cometkazie says: Feb 1, 2013 7:06 PM

    I guess he didn’t like the mowers leaking oil as that might kill the grass.


  12. lottsmissingfinger says: Feb 1, 2013 7:21 PM

    Wasn’t Updyke a ‘Wal-Mart fan’ – people who never went to the school? In my experience, these are usually the most vitriolic and vicious. I went to Texas and, living in the DFW area, run into a lot of these and they are usually the most obnoxious ‘supporters.’

  13. bamasleeper13 says: Feb 1, 2013 7:24 PM

    As an Alabama fan I was horrified that someone would do this. My son is a student at the University and he and a large group of students raised over $40,000 for” Tide for Toomers”. Not all fans are crazy and this sounds like a class act to me. You don’t know what you are talking about Kathy.

  14. bamadawg1 says: Feb 1, 2013 8:03 PM

    @lotsmissingfinger or toes or whatever. I think what you are really missing is your mind!!! I hate people like you who think that no one could or should be a fan for a team unless they actually graduated from there!!! It is people like you that are obnoxious and petty!!!

    Every team has irrational fans that both attended and never attended that college!!! But have you ever taken a second to think that a true fan who grew up cheering for a team may have many reasons for not attending or being able to attend that university? Are you going to tell a 14 or 15 year old kid who hasn’t graduated high school yet that they shouldn’t be going to games or anything because they are, as you put it, “Wal-Mart” fans???

    Using your Dumb-A$$ logic, I guess people aren’t allowed to support a pro team unless they played for that team!!!

    You’re an idiot and no smarter or better than Updyke in my opinion!!!

  15. alligatorsnapper says: Feb 1, 2013 8:05 PM

    Met some great people in Auburn on one of the trips with the southernpatriots family on the way through. They are taking this quite hard. Alot of history and tradition there.

    Southernpatriots told me that there were numerous tree growers who have offered to donate new replacement trees. I guess they will have to make that decision soon. Knowledge exists to transplant huge trees now but the experts in Auburn may have other ideas, but I hope they replace them with some even better, rather than allow a deranged man succeed in any way.

    Sorry this is necessary. Best to all Auburn staff, students and alums to make it even better than it was before!

  16. harbourimages says: Feb 1, 2013 8:24 PM

    I’m a Michigan Wolverines alum, and this stupid act sickens me. I sympathize with both Auburn and Bama fans over this, and I hope the moron gets the maximum sentence he deserves. Also, it doesn’t take much in the way of brainpower to know this dork does not in any way represent the other 99.99999% of Alabama fans. Anyone who thinks it does is a dumb as Updyke.

  17. kattykathy says: Feb 1, 2013 8:24 PM

    lottsmissingfinger says: Feb 1, 2013 7:21 PM

    Wasn’t Updyke a ‘Wal-Mart fan’ – people who never went to the school? In my experience, these are usually the most vitriolic and vicious. I went to Texas and, living in the DFW area, run into a lot of these and they are usually the most obnoxious ‘supporters.’


    There is another “Wal Mart fan” that constantly trolls all of the Bama stories here. Never went to Alabama, and is quite the obnoxious “supporter”.

    Cue the jealous, obnoxious, petty attacks from this loony in 3, 2, 1…. bless her heart

  18. cometkazie says: Feb 1, 2013 8:35 PM

    Troll Alert!

  19. mrlaloosh says: Feb 1, 2013 8:39 PM

    Yawn, trees for crying out loud. Lots of firewood in them oaks.

  20. be4bama says: Feb 1, 2013 8:43 PM

    LoL Cometkazie :-)

  21. canetic says: Feb 1, 2013 9:01 PM

    Hey, I’ve got some oaks if they want to come get them and bring them up there. My brother went to AU (he didn’t know any better).

  22. kozbee says: Feb 1, 2013 9:11 PM

    Lots of great Bama fans then like Auburn and any other school they have their good and bad fan bases.My daughter got her degree from Bama and still stays in touch with the many Bama friends that come to visit for a big BBQ each year.Im mostly an Auburn fan but many times in my posts you will read Roll Tide due to a Bama thread.Bama a great school with great fans and traditions.To that great fan base,Roll Tide.

  23. harvupdyke says: Feb 1, 2013 9:15 PM

    As I mentioned to Paul: you think I care?

    Roll dam tide…

  24. Deb says: Feb 1, 2013 9:26 PM

    Hadn’t heard anything on the trees in a while and hoped that meant they were going to survive. Such a sad turn of events. It only takes one lunatic to ruin things for everyone else. Deepest apologies to the Auburn family on behalf of the Alabama fanbase.

    centexhorn said it best. We may be passionate about our teams, but it’s only a game. Have no idea what’s happening with his legal situation. But since Updyke is unable to set rational boundaries, I hope Alabama bans him for life from any contact with the University or its sports teams.

  25. ebrownwareagle says: Feb 1, 2013 9:37 PM

    Our Pride Will Live On!!!


  26. clemsonstillsucks says: Feb 1, 2013 10:31 PM

    @ Harv,

    If you can beat my current yard guy and cut my lawn for $25 you got my business.

    @ Katty,

    You’re welcome to eat the peanuts from my $hit free of charge…

  27. normtide says: Feb 1, 2013 10:33 PM

    Clemsonstillsucks- I approve your message.

  28. imaduffer says: Feb 2, 2013 1:00 AM

    This story has money written all over it. Cut down the trees, make ” The Oaks at Toomer Cornors Coasters”. You would sell a Billion and for a set of 8 for $30, you would make enough money to buy some better football players.

  29. bamasleeper13 says: Feb 2, 2013 8:28 AM

    I think I have figured this out. Kathy is related to Updyke and that is why she is so crabby and mean! Now we know….

  30. rolltide510 says: Feb 2, 2013 11:29 AM

    “Their removal will in no way diminish the Auburn Spirit, which has grown even stronger during these past two years.”

    Not sure if I’m with her on that second part.

  31. blackmike2 says: Feb 2, 2013 12:05 PM

    war eagle, you stately, old oaks!

  32. 1990tiger says: Feb 2, 2013 12:17 PM

    It is a shame that one idiot can ruin something enjoyed by thousands. As much of a shame that said idiot has not been tried for his crime yet. If I were the judge presiding over the case, I would not entertain any more delays in the trial.

  33. lrg51 says: Feb 2, 2013 12:39 PM

    I’m not an Auburn or Bama fan. But I am a fan of tradition.

    Harvey Updyke is an arsehole for poisoning these trees. I wonder if he now feels like the smallest of human beings and can no longer show his face in public. This wasn’t Harvey’s mistake. It was a crime.

    Harvey should do everything he can to raise funds to replace these storied oaks. I bet he would get a lot of support. Lets see what kind of man Harvey is…

  34. lrg51 says: Feb 2, 2013 12:49 PM

    Ole Harvey Updike just can’t stay out of trouble. Thanks to Kozbee for the following link…

  35. whatchutalkinboutwillis says: Feb 2, 2013 1:15 PM

    That’s sad. I was hoping they were going to be able to recover from that. How sad that something so beautiful had to die over something as minute as a football game. Yes, I know the games are big deal in the eyes of the fans, but in the end, it is just a game. Life goes on. Not for these trees, though.

    And on a side note, just because it was a Bama fan that did this doesn’t mean all Bama fans are horrible people and/or sore losers. You can’t honestly believe the one represents the whole, can you? There is trash in every fan base, every race, etc. One person’s actions shouldn’t define the whole fan base.

  36. feywit says: Feb 2, 2013 1:30 PM

    Let me see if I have this straight. From the photo it appears that these venerated trees are covered in toilet paper each year? What is that cost to the planet and its trees?

  37. sanduskyshowerboy says: Feb 2, 2013 1:59 PM

    Bama 1 tree 0

  38. Deb says: Feb 2, 2013 2:12 PM

    @normtide …

    Didn’t take time to read the comments last night before posting my hope that Updyke would be banned from all Bama functions and sporting events. See now you posted that’s already happened. Great to hear! That should send a message to the crazies in every team’s fanbase. Now if they would only stop the delays and resolve his legal case.

  39. dcroz says: Feb 2, 2013 2:49 PM

    One correction to the story: Updyke poisoned the trees days after the game. It was played on the day after Thanksgiving, and I cannot remember whether he claimed to have done it that weekend or the next.

    If memory serves, preparations for replacing those trees was already going on at the time of Updyke’s poisoning them. Though still healthy, they were at the far end of the normal life cycle for that type of oak, and Auburn had started growing some seedlings from acorns off the trees in expectation of them dying in the relatively-near future. Whether they would use these seedlings and let them grow over the years or bring in mature trees will be interesting to see.

  40. pedagoguish says: Feb 2, 2013 3:09 PM

    Somehow it doesn’t surprise me that Auburn fans would toilet paper a tree. After all, isn’t that the height of culture in Alabama?

  41. tominma says: Feb 2, 2013 3:14 PM

    This guy should get some serious jail time. I know it’s only 2 trees, but they DID mean a great deal to the Auburn community!! I hope they at least convict him on the felony charge. Such a juvenile thing to do!! And NO, it has nothing to do with Bama fans. It has everything to do with idiots on the loose!

  42. misterchainbluelightning says: Feb 2, 2013 4:13 PM

    A couple meaningless trees, who cares? It’s just Karma straightening things out. Im glad they are dead

  43. pogodog7 says: Feb 2, 2013 4:32 PM

    Hang him from one of the trees before they are removed.

  44. pogodog7 says: Feb 2, 2013 4:39 PM

    Hang him from one of the trees before they are removed. I bet he voted for Obumma also.

  45. bamafan36 says: Feb 2, 2013 6:15 PM

    Guys, let’s not get lost on the fact that Barner’s have been killing those tree’s for almost 50 years. When they roll Toomer’s Corner (which I think is goofy, but, understand what tradition is), the campus officials use high-powered fire hoses to BLAST the TP out of the tree’s. The act of removing the TP has GREATLY reduced the life-span of the Oaks. That is why they were already looking into replacing them. Also, it is just a tree, for goodness sake! It does not have a soul, nor feelings. I am in no way condoning the act of lunacy from any fan, but, serving jail time? Seriously? Charge the idiot’s who have hurt people, while in their trance-like state, and we’ll talk.

    And, for the yahoo that thinks you have to be alumnus to root for a team, try paying the bills and grow the program’s WITHOUT these people’s money! That “should” be a big enough glass of STFU. But, you obviously are so smug as to think you are better than them, anyways.

  46. be4bama says: Feb 2, 2013 6:39 PM

    BTW where is southern patriots these days?

  47. gt40bear says: Feb 2, 2013 8:32 PM

    Public flogging, that would stop this kind of crap!

  48. alligatorsnapper says: Feb 2, 2013 8:37 PM


    In Appalachia, working with others helping to bring medical care and dental care to the rural folks there, especially the children. I went with them a winter ago and it truly changed my life.

  49. be4bama says: Feb 2, 2013 9:10 PM

    What an amazing journey it must be. I would like to hear your stories someday Snapper. God Bless you and southern patriot.

  50. Deb says: Feb 2, 2013 10:58 PM

    pogodog7 says:

    Hang him from one of the trees before they are removed. I bet he voted for Obumma also.
    I’ll bet he didn’t. But according to the Auburn Plainsman after Obama was re-elected, Auburn students rolled Toomer’s trees in celebration … although I can’t imagine why it matters either way since this isn’t a political blog.

  51. jag8r904 says: Feb 2, 2013 11:47 PM

    Maybe $cammy $cam can pay his money back and buy a couple trees. $180,000 should get at least a couple oaks.

    On a separate thought, I wasn’t aware it was all for NAUGHT, not all for NOT. So at least I learned something (unless it was another mistake by an NBC Sports Talk writer).

  52. canehouse says: Feb 7, 2013 3:54 PM

    This is very sad… i hope that guy gets the max sentence. He let his emotions of his team losing to Auburn drive him so mad that he went and killed powerful oak trees… what’s next for this maniac? Lock him up.

  53. me6661973 says: Feb 7, 2013 4:48 PM

    guess what it got rolled last night War Eagle! F you updyke!

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