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.)
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