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Famous Toomers Corner trees poisoned; likely will die

feenotypefeenotype Registered User Posts: 2,311 Senior Member
edited February 2011 in University of Alabama
Famous Toomers Corner trees poisoned; likely will die - WSFA 12 News Montgomery, AL |

AUBURN, AL – Auburn University confirmed Wednesday 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. The university says there is little chance to save the trees.

The City of Auburn Police Division has opened an investigation.

A herbicide known as Spike 80DF, or tebuthiuron, is believed to be the chemical dumped on the famous trees which Auburn students and fans roll with toilet paper in celebration of game victories.

Spike 80DF is controlled by state agricultural laws and the Environmental Protection Agency. The university says it does not use the herbicide.

There is no reason to suspect any human danger from the herbicide, the university said, 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.

Results showed 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.

Post edited by feenotype on

Replies to: Famous Toomers Corner trees poisoned; likely will die

  • NJBamaNJBama - Posts: 1,233 Senior Member
    Who was it that I asked to do this a few days ago? Whoever it was I owe you a drink or three :-)

    Yeah yeah I know it's classless to celebrate over something like this but when you hate a school as much as I hate them class goes out the window. Plus just think of all the toilet paper it will save.

    And it's funny how their President tries to act all holier than thou when those scumbags have defaced our statues and grass around the statues several times.
  • feenotypefeenotype Registered User Posts: 2,311 Senior Member
    I guess killing century-old trees is all part of the fun and games.
  • RobDRobD Registered User Posts: 5,061 Senior Member
    Oh that makes me so sad! Trees like those are such a treasure. That's way more than a prank.
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Registered User Posts: 82,545 Senior Member
    Why would anyone kill these trees? How bizarre and really awful.
  • reginaphalangereginaphalange Registered User Posts: 838 Member
    I do not by any means support destroying nature. . .however, I will make an exception in this case.
  • NJBamaNJBama - Posts: 1,233 Senior Member
    Before some of you get all worked up over this you might want to read the story at the link below. Barners have been saying the trees were dying for the last 10 years. This isn't anything new.

    I personally wouldn't put it past those cow molesters to have made this whole thing up to try and make Bama fans look bad.

    Too Late for Toomer's Trees
  • feenotypefeenotype Registered User Posts: 2,311 Senior Member
    So, you're saying that because they were possibly reaching the end of their life cycle, it's okay to kill them?
  • NJBamaNJBama - Posts: 1,233 Senior Member
    No I'm saying the barners have been saying those trees were on their last limbs for a long time now. You can't kill something that's already dead.

    Why aren't you concerned over all the trees being killed to make the toilet paper those scumbags have been wasting over the years throwing it in the tree? Including their celebration when Coach Bryant died.

    I'm sorry but I'm not going to shed a tear over a damn tree that was on it's last limb anyway. Not to mention how conveniently this story comes out the same day CBS sports & Fox sports released articles about an NCAA investigation into auburn's recruiting down in Louisiana.

    I put nothing past that cult. Including making up a story like this to try to turn the attention away from their cheating tactics.

    Next thing you know they'll be accusing us of killing those birds that their negligent Raptor clinic murdered a few years ago.
  • feenotypefeenotype Registered User Posts: 2,311 Senior Member
    They weren't dead already, so yes you can kill them. It's not about Auburn or Alabama, it's about the destruction of a groove of 100+ oaks at one of the most picturesque places in the state. I'm sorry you can't look past a silly little game and see that.
  • NJBamaNJBama - Posts: 1,233 Senior Member
    What destruction? The trees aren't dead and I've seen nothing to suggest they will die sooner than they were already going to die.

    There have been stories of people shooting family and friends over this little game and you're gonna just now get upset over a damn tree? Let me go cry in my styrofoam container.
  • feenotypefeenotype Registered User Posts: 2,311 Senior Member
    Nobody's killed another person over this game, so I guess we should count our lucky stars. We can just take out our frustrations on useless plants and animals, for now.
  • catdaddycatdaddy Registered User Posts: 170 Junior Member
    I'm certainly no Auburn fan but this is just sad. I love college sports and rolling Toomer's Corner was a cool tradition. I heard the replay of the caller today on the Finebaum show. He sounded like an old guy that is mentally unbalanced. Unfortunately this will reflect poorly on the good fans at Bama.
  • macamaticmacamatic Registered User Posts: 28 New Member
    It's sad to think that someone would poison trees over a game 20-year-olds play...I've always felt the tradition was tasteless (especially when they do it for things like PWB retiring as mentioned above), along with the reversal of the Rammer Jammer when they beat us (I guess I just don't like Auburn football, haha), but this is stooping below their level. Does anyone really win when everyone acts with such little class?
  • LadyDianeskiLadyDianeski Registered User Posts: 2,064 Senior Member
    I don't know enough about Auburn to either love or hate it, but I LOOOOVE those huge old live oak trees, dripping with Spanish moss. I remember that sort of tree from our three years in Louisiana. So sad that anyone would poison a tree, just for spite.

    On the other hand, it is true that nothing's more mutable than nature. Since buying and building on our 18-acre wooded property almost 21 years ago, we have seen so much change, most of it for the worse -- huge old white oak trees that withered and died, entire pine groves devastated by ice storms, stately poplar trees that toppled (and brought down smaller trees with them). Nature destroys more than man could ever hope to, at least in our experience.

    Not that man doesn't give Nature a run for her money. Our neighbors have frontage on a very pretty creek -- as wide as a river but shallower. Their frontage used to be utterly magical, with trees over-hanging the water on either side. It was a world unto itself, very private, mossy, green, shady, and beautiful.

    Then a logging company came in and completely devastated the land on the other side of the creek. (Our neighbors own frontage only on one side, so there was nothing they could do about it.) Unlike huge companies like Weyerhauser, which are accountable to shareholders, these small logging companies have no scruples. They come in and wreak total destruction, then leave the wreckage behind -- an ugly mass of stumps and trampled-down scrub pine.

    I almost wept the first time I saw our neighbors' creek frontage after the loggers had destroyed the opposite bank. Let's just say that the magic was completely gone!

    Several years have passed, and it's a little better now. But it will never be quite the same.

    I think there's a lesson there about the mutability of this passing world, but I'll pass on pursuing it further! ;)
  • capemaycapemay Registered User Posts: 80 Junior Member
    Well said, LadyDi.
This discussion has been closed.