The Toomer’s Corner oak trees are a landmark. How many times have you said, “It’s right across from Toomer’s Corner?”, “I’ll meet you at Toomer’s Corner.”, or the ultimate “Let’s go roll Toomer’s Corner!” All of these statements will not be stated in the future. Especially, “Let’s go roll Toomer’s!”
By now, speculations on what happened to the oak trees are over with. Harvey Updyke has been released on a $50,000 bond for criminal mischief. Updyke poisoned the 130 year old landmark with a herbicide, commonly known as Spike 80DF.
Alison Hop, a senior in public relations, remembers her first sightings of Toomer’s Corner being rolled after a win.
“I was a sophomore and I can remember everyone running towards College St. to roll the trees. Everyone was cheering and throwing toilet paper. It was great to see people of all ages congregating at one spot. It is not just a university tradition, but a town tradition. After all the rumors had settled about the trees being poisoned and the facts were given, it was really hard to believe that someone would do this. I can understand rivalries, but this has gone too far” said Hop.
The soil that was poisoned at the base of the trees most likely has spread through the ground, which will result in other foliage being killed. The herbicide will be in the soil for three to five years. Agricultural, botany and chemical professionals are being contacted to see if there is any way that the oaks can be saved.
People from all over the country have contacted Auburn to see if they can lend any solution to the problem.
“Fans and community members are visiting the oak trees just as they would visit a sick family member. Other schools might think this is odd, but every school has their rituals and traditions. The oak trees have been there since the beginning and it is hard to see a family member in trouble, and right now the Auburn family is coming together in hopes of saving the trees” states Hop.
Alabama students, alumni and fans have made it a point to separate themselves from Updyke. Alabama alumni, Clay Loftin, created a Facebook page “Tide for Toomer’s” to raise money for the restoration of the Auburn tradition. So far the page has raised $8,000 for the oak trees.
Though the gesture is nice, in the minds of the Auburn family, the oak trees are priceless.