Their leaves are mottled and brown, and their canopies are smaller but the poisoned live oaks at Auburn University’s Toomer’s Corner are strong enough to withstand being rolled with toilet paper this fall during football victory celebrations, school officials say.
The 131-year-old trees’ future, however, remains uncertain, as is the fate of a University of Alabama fan who has been charged with attacking them with a powerful herbicide after the Tigers beat the Crimson Tide in 2010. The poisoning was not discovered until early 2011.
The Associated Press reports that the oak trees were trimmed this summer for the start of fall classes and football season.
The Tigers face LSU in their first SEC home opener at Jordan-Hare Stadium on Sept. 22. Auburn faces Alabama Nov. 24 – in Tuscaloosa. (Auburn faces the Georgia Bulldogs in Auburn on Nov. 10).
“While long-term decisions about the trees have not been made, fans are still welcome to gather at the corner this fall and continue the tradition of rolling the trees with toilet paper,” Auburn said in a statement obtained by the AP.
Harvey Updyke faces an Oct. 1 trial. He has pleaded not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect on charges of criminal mischief and desecrating a venerable object. His attorneys want the trial moved from Auburn because of extensive pretrial coverage.