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.
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.”