The beloved oak trees at Toomer’s Corner on the Auburn University are being taken down today, two years after they were poisoned by a rival fan.
The oaks are a traditional gathering place for celebrations and, one last time over the weekend, toilet paper billowed from the branches of the stately trees. Early this morning, crowds gathered to watch the trees come down.
“It’s kind of a sad week across campus,” said Greg St.Clair a senior computer science major, told al.com, which is carrying live video of the removal. “We were here for the national championship, so we got to see it at it’s glory, at it’s peak, but I didn’t really realize how much of a tradition rolling Toomer’s was and the whole history of it, and now seeing everybody gathered here in a somber tone is kind of enlightening and eyeopening.”
Auburn plans to replace the oaks early next year and plan to add seating to the gateway to the university. Construction is expected to be completed before the 2014 football season begins, but the trees won’t be ready for rolling until they become established..
“We certainly will try do everything we can to continue that tradition of rolling,” Auburn President Jay Gogue said.
The area must be excavated before new trees are planted and tests will be done to determine how deeply the herbicide, which was applied by Harvey Updyke Jr. in 2010 after Auburn beat Alabama in the Iron Bowl, went.
In March, Updyke, a former Texas state trooper, agreed to a three-year split sentence as part of a plea deal. He will be serve six months in jail and, upon his release, will be on supervised probation for five years.