Skip to comments.Toomer's Oaks
Posted on 02/16/2011 3:47:00 PM PST by Jemian
AUBURN Auburn University today confirmed that an herbicide commonly used to kill trees was deliberately applied in lethal amounts to the soil around the Toomer's Corner live oaks on campus, and there is little chance to save the trees. More information and ongoing updates as to treatment and prognosis are available on this site.
The City of Auburn Police Division is investigating the situation, and the application of this herbicide, known as Spike 80DF, or tebuthiuron, is also governed by state agricultural laws and the Environmental Protection Agency. The university does not use Spike herbicide. There is no reason to suspect any human danger from the herbicide, which manufacturer Dow Chemical says should be applied with proper clothing protection; a typical use of the herbicide is to kill trees along fence lines.
The university learned that a caller to The Paul Finebaum Show, a nationally syndicated radio show based in Birmingham, on Jan. 27, claimed he had applied the herbicide. As a precaution, soil samples were taken the next day and sent to the Alabama State Pesticide Residue Laboratory on campus for analysis. Due to a small fire that occurred in the Alabama lab in December, the tests were sent to the lab at Mississippi State University in Starkville, Miss., to expedite results.
The lowest amount detected was 0.78 parts per million, described by horticulture experts as a "very lethal dose." The highest amount detected was 51 parts per million, or 65 times the lowest dose. Experts believe a normal application by itself would have been enough to kill the trees, which are estimated to be more than 130 years old.
"We are assessing the extent of the damage and proceeding as if we have a chance to save the trees," said Gary Keever, an Auburn University professor of horticulture and a member of Auburn's Tree Preservation Committee. "We are also focused on protecting the other trees and shrubs in Samford Park. At this level the impact could be much greater than just the oaks on the corner, as Spike moves through the soil to a wide area." Additional tests are being completed to determine the movement and extent of the area affected, Keever said.
The removal process involves digging trenches and applying activated charcoal to absorb the herbicide from the soil and block its progress. A representative from Dow Chemical, which manufactures the herbicide, is advising the university on removal procedures, and expert horticulturalists are also being consulted.
"We will take every step we can to save the Toomer's oaks, which have been the home of countless celebrations and a symbol of the Auburn spirit for generations of Auburn students, fans, alumni and the community," said University President Jay Gogue.
Gogue asked members of the Auburn Family to "continue to be 'All In' in upholding its reputation for class" and not allow anger to be expressed inappropriately or undeservedly.
"It is understandable to feel outrage in reaction to a malicious act of vandalism," Gogue said. "However, we should live up to the example we set in becoming national champions and the beliefs expressed in our Auburn Creed. Individuals act alone, not on behalf of anyone or any place, and all universities are vulnerable to and condemn such reprehensible acts."
Because the application of the herbicide is being investigated, no details about the investigation can be released. Anyone with information can contact the Auburn Police Division at (334) 501-3110 or anonymously by voice or text on the tip line at (334) 246-1391.
CONTACTS FOR MEDIA:
Mike Clardy, (334) 844-9999 (firstname.lastname@example.org), or
Deedie Dowdle, (334) 844-9999 (email@example.com)
A sad ping. I’m thinking, since I don’t know the affiliation of the lowlife scum who did this (taking his frustrations out on a tree!), we should not only replant with Toomer’s seedlings, we should send two seedlings to each of our SEC “sister” schools, so they can share our remembrance, too.
The typical bama posters on a sports site I go to are joking about it. This is why I loathe bama fans. They are so kooky. A few posters are saying that a bama fan posted on several websites after the BCS game that he had done this. I sure hope they find him and let the AU fans have a go with him. This is beyond disgusting!
Similar thing occured in Austin. The Treaty Oak was the legend has it was where the treaty ending the Texas war for independence was signed, and about 10 years ago someone poisoned it. He was caught & convicted, but there is little left of that magnificent old tree.
I am a Tide fan, but I want to unequivocally state that any kind of vandalism especially the kind described on this thread is inexcusable and demented.
I always thought being a Bammer fan was akin to radical fundamentalist religion capable of heinous acts of terrorism. I guess we will have to retaliate and blow up the Denney Chimes tower. . . not that I am advocating that . . . idiot jerks!
I know it is an Auburn tradition but I always thought throwing toilet paper all over them was also vandalism.
Having said that, I do hope the person responsible is caught and punished.
I hope they hang the SOB who did this to one of the trees.
I remember reading about that. I cried then, too. One thing that keeps me from wailing and gnashing my teeth is that seedlings from the oaks have been sold for a number of years now. I’m hoping that someone who purchased a seedling or two will donate their seedlings if necessary.
I believe in miracles. I’m praying God will heal these innocent trees.
Here’s one by the Muzzies.
The rolling of Toomer’s is a party celebration much like confetti or a ticker-tape parade. Nobody gets hurt and they are a whole lot of fun. The city, and I have supported this, and the school allocate funds to clean up afterward although I would and I’m sure others would too, volunteer to clean up later if necessary.
Rolling the trees doesn’t kill them or make them sick.
No retalliation should occur. This was a criminal act done by an individual. He should be caught, tried and convicted in the Lee County Justice Center over in Opelika.
I appreciate your sympathy and I agree with you.
Thank you for your good wishes.
Hope they catch the idiot. I heard he called into a sportstalk station bragging...so they know who he is.
How sad and the idiot who has done this needs to have the same thing done with him with cyanide.
He did, and I understand he bragged about it on some web sites so they should be able to trace his ip address. If they coordinate that with Toomer’s Cam tapes plus the Hargis Hall Cam tapes, they should nail him.
The herbicide is not easily purchased. It is a strongly controlled substance and I heard on the radio that a purchaser has to sign for it. So, there is a possibility of finding him.
It was just an individual and not a group effort. Do NOT hold this against our rivals.
He needs to be punished, but properly. They are just trees, after all, and only symbols of the undying Auburn Spirit.
REMEMBER OUR CREED!!! War Eagle!
Cutting off branches, carving the trunk, burning parts...yeah, but throwing toilet paper on a tree. Nope.
I’m a dawg..I am your rival. :)
(Psst..Don’t tell anyone..but I’m a closet Auburn fan because a childhood teammate played rb there.)
Yes, you’re my rival, but you know right from wrong. This was wrong. Y’all, as a group, don’t do things like this.
Your secret is safe with me.
Why not? I think that Auburn ought to use the Israeli model and blockade and bombard Alabama.
In the case of Toomer’s Corner it probably isn’t vandalism since the school doesn’t object and in fact probably encourages it.
As a general rule tho, I do think papering any place is vandalism. Pretty tame vandalism as it is not permanent.
BTW, I have been to Auburn (and Opelika too) many times. I have even competed at Auburn. Our old coach was an Auburn alum and they let us drive up from Troy and practice on their indoor track.
Unbelievable! I do not believe that this person is a Bama grad. I don't think he is even really a Bama fan or supporter. I think he is just an Auburn hater because he is a hateful individual.
As for us celebrating when the Bear died? I don't think so. I don't remember anything done one way or another, but we would definitely NOT have celebrated. If we did, I am very very sorry.
Nope. That lowlife comes from Dadeville, just 30 miles up 280 from here.
He’ll be caught. Trial about three miles from where I’m typing now. Can I be on the jury?
I am a DAWG fan, too but from Mississippi State. This brought tears to my eyes that someone would be so hateful to do something like this to something that was not bothering him in the least. AU fans, I sincerely hope that a miracle happens.
The pictures upthread are some that I took today. You can see how sad the westernmost tree is. The horticulturists at AU are working with the makers of the herbicide to attempt some remedies. I know it sounds crazy to most, but I did pray over them. I know they are just trees, but they are part of my history and home and I have been weeping over this ever since I heard it.
There is a TOOMER’S TREE HUG this Saturday at noon. If you can’t be there, you might be able to watch it on the Toomer’s Cam. I will be taking pictures.
Oh NO!!! I just saw this - I am heartbroken! How could anyone stoop so low?? I am joining you in praying for those trees - God is the “Master of all Gardeners” -
I trust that with all the cameras that are running and with the voice on the radio and the things he’s posted online.... I would say the chances are pretty high that they WILL find Al.
Dadeville is not big, not big at all. “Al” had better change his name and he really won’t be safe with that. He needs to move.
Just saw that Auburn Chief of Police says they may make an arrest tonight in the case!! (WTVM) How’s that for fast work?
War Eagle! I hope so.
Toilet paper on a tree is just a visit with relatives.
This sickens the living hell out of me. Fury to the sick Bammers that think this is funny. Low life scum. What a sick example of human life.
I understand that an arrest has been made. More as details emerge.
Remember the creed. We must NOT sink to this low level. I can’t believe that Al in Dadeville is typical of Bama fans. Those who support his actions are sick, too.
They need to use the information from his call to the radio station to find this cretin, and bring charges. Lots of them.
Good. Please let us know what comes of this, FRiend.
Jus heard on WANI out of Opelika has announced officially that an arrest has indeed been made. Press conference later this morning.
It’s funny to hear an auburn fan call Bama fans “kooky”. Talk about pot calling the kettle black. It is funny to me that I have been on every Bama site tonight & most are comdemning the act. Most football fans in the country hate aubarn after this years shenanigans so it could be have been anyone. I didn’t hear the auburn “family” condemn the vandalism of Coach Saban’s lake house. I also remember the way barner fans were celebrating and rolling toomers corner after Coach Bryant died. Typical hypocritical barner behavior. You can dish it out but you cannot take it. I don’t condone this action but truthfully the obnoxious hateful auburn “family” caused the hatred that we see between the teams. The auburn “family” is more like the Manson Family.
Funny statement coming from an auburn cult member. I have never seen a fanbase so similar to a cult like auburn’s. I don’t agree with what was done to the trees. I only hope a crazy barner doesn’t try to kill Coach Saban or one of our players. There are some crazy enough. That said I hope the culprit is caught and punished.
You seem to be a classy individual. I am sorry about what happened to the trees. The culprit should be caught and punished just as the culprit who vandalized Coach Saban’s lake house should be punished. I admit I have bitter feelings toward auburn fans because of my experiences with them. I remember the jublilation & the celebrations after the death of Coach Bryant. I think the internet has ramped up the hatred between the fanbases.
Oh I am so glad! I hope I can find a link to the press conference...
I read on the Facebook support Toomer’s Oaks link it was Harvey Updike... I’m sure we will find out all about Harvey in the coming days....I was going to suggest yesterday that there are enough Auburn fans who would volunteer to track down every known sale of that pesticide in Alabama.
Which brings up a question.... Why do they not regulate the sale of something that could be so devastating ? I read that they are concerned about the spread to all of the azaleas and other trees across the entire park area. There was mention of it leaching into the water table of the city...It sounds like something that should only be sold to bonded, responsible people - not some crazy man from Dadeville or Mobile or wherever Harvey lives now...
Keep me posted! Praying for The Master Gardener to reach down and perform a miracle for our dear old trees!
Thank you for your compliment to me. I’m afraid that it is the obnoxious fans which get the publicity and taint the impressions. I was in the band and I remember going to one school where old ladies would shoot birds at us as our busses went through town. Another school was were some people threw rotten fruit at us. When we went to play another school, we ladies were advised not to go outside our hotel rooms without a male escort and when we marched into the stadium, the ladies were placed in the middle of the band with our bigger guys on the perimeter. None of these schools were Bama. But that is the impression of the schools that I received. Sad, isn’t it.
This is the first I’ve heard about celebrations when Bear died. That saddens me immensely. I’ve seen that y’all have stepped up your security around Bryant-Denny. That is wise and I am glad. Has the vandal been caught yet? I agree with you that it is a crime and he should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. We are on the same side.
This person was not from y’all. He probably never went to Bama and no one in his family probably ever went to college. I am waiting for the press conference and will report on it when I can.
Harvey Updike? No wonder he is a bitter old man.
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