UPDATE: There has been an arrest in Auburn’s tree poisoning

Toomer's Corner in happier times. (AP photo)

Here we see Toomer's Corner at a happier, healthier time. (AP photo)

UPDATE: An arrest has been made in this case, according to Birmingham TV station WBRC. The man charged with criminal mischief is a 62-year-old resident of Dadeville, Ala.

Some nut poisoned the ancient oak trees at Toomer’s Corner. Even if you’re indifferent toward Auburn — heck, even if you can’t abide Auburn  — this should make you ill. Because this isn’t a harmless little joke. There’s monetary harm in vandalism. More to the point, there’s psychic harm in knowing the game that stirs Southern passions could spawn an act as vile as this.

Georgia fans were incensed in 2008 when Tech players broke off a few sprigs of hedge after winning at Sanford Stadium. (Georgia fans were likewise incensed when Bo Jackson and his Auburn teammates did the same in 1983.) Imagine the Bulldog outrage if those hallowed hedges hadn’t just been pruned but eradicated.

On Jan. 27, an anonymous caller to Paul Finebaum’s Birmingham radio show claimed he’d done the foul deed. Soil samples were taken the next day and tests — at Mississippi State, of all places — showed the presence of a poison known as Spike 8oDF. And here we pause to say:

An anonymous caller? Spike 80DF? Exactly what sort of world is it in which we live?

People get excited about football in the South. Sometimes excited people do silly things. The poisoning of trees goes beyond silliness. The poisoning of trees is, to use a word I don’t use lightly, evil.

There are times when I wonder if the games we follow are worth following. This isn’t just one of those times; this is the worst of those times.

By Mark Bradley

570 comments Add your comment

johnBRAVES

February 16th, 2011
6:45 pm

Horrible horrible vandalism.

NWB UFJD

February 16th, 2011
6:45 pm

First ? And yes. Evil.

Hummon

February 16th, 2011
6:46 pm

Pretty low thing to do.

merculf

February 16th, 2011
6:46 pm

There are many great pranks you can play on your rival. Part of the fun of going to college is showing your school spirit. People have put soap powder in fountains, painted graffiti, stolen statues and kidnapped mascots. But what has happened at Auburn would be the equivalent of shooting UGA, Smokey or Ralphie the Buffalo and the like. Dumb Ass!

hmmm.

February 16th, 2011
6:46 pm

I am a Georgia fan and I dislike Auburn through and through…but you don’t do something like this it just ain’t right. who ever done it is a sick you know what.

Zach

February 16th, 2011
6:46 pm

I am hurt. Truly hurt. I love those trees!

johnBRAVES

February 16th, 2011
6:47 pm

I got first, nice. And while I know that poisoning a tree and teepeeing it after a win are totally different, it’s not like the Auburn fans themselves didn’t disrespect it.

UGA VIIII

February 16th, 2011
6:48 pm

Agree with you Mark hopefully the idiot will be caught.

Mark Bradley

February 16th, 2011
6:48 pm

Kudos, johnBRAVES.

Due to the sensitivity of the “first” issue, I only offer kudos if claimed by the first-er.

how2fish

February 16th, 2011
6:48 pm

Just heard about the terrorist act that is the poisoning of the Oaks at Auburn. I often beat up the Auburn fans here. I would however like to at this time state that this is truly a terrible act of cowardice and my anger is doubled that it is probably the act of a lunatic football fan. No matter who is was I hope they get every thing Kismet should be throwing their way. I enjoy the bashing that goes on here most of the time, it can be silly and stupid but for the most part I’ve always thought mostly just poking fun, fanbase to fanbase..this type of thing

johnBRAVES

February 16th, 2011
6:50 pm

Haha keep up the good work.

Mark Bradley

February 16th, 2011
6:51 pm

Can’t decide if it would be worse for the perpetrator to be identified (which might be what the churl wants) or never to be ID’ed.

dawgfan

February 16th, 2011
6:51 pm

Pigs .Bet a nice reward offer will flush out the scum. Stupid scumbags tend to brag.

PMC

February 16th, 2011
6:52 pm

Can the trees be saved?

SMARTIE

February 16th, 2011
6:52 pm

what a sorry excuse for a human being!

Mark Bradley

February 16th, 2011
6:53 pm

According to the news story written by esteemed colleague Kristi E. Swartz, the trees are in dire condition.

PTC DAWG

February 16th, 2011
6:54 pm

I agree, hopefully they can save the trees and catch & PUNISH the folks responsible.

how2fish

February 16th, 2011
6:55 pm

cut off my comments , this type of thing should make us all rethink what we say on a blog..somehow I feel that we could have somehow helped enable a truly twisted mind. Logically we all know blog stuff is well just blog stuff, whatever coward committed this act is obviously not using any form of logic.I hope they Auburn fans catch you whoever you are not the police….and my deepest sympathies to the WDE’s

Legend of Len Barker

February 16th, 2011
6:56 pm

Ah, rivalry. Years before the Legend was in high school, a group of pranksters went over to our arch-rival and sprayed “Rebels Rule” in Round-Up on their football field (somehow, we still get away with being the Rebels). They also accused us of flooding part of their school, but it was probably poor maintenance on their part.

At some point in the late 1980s, the arch-rival had individuals steal our head coach’s hubcaps. We can prove that one. Mainly because the geniuses showed up to the football game and unfurled a large sign reading, “Coach [whoever it was then], we have your hubcaps.” At the end of the sign, a few of their fans indeed held up the missing hubcaps.

Not a nice thing to do and if they catch the culprit, s/he should pay for the damages. But after all, it is a rivalry.

RomeDawg

February 16th, 2011
6:57 pm

Part of the love of college football is the “trash talking” and spirited debates we have, but I would NEVER cross the line and tarnish history like this. People don’t respect others anymore, period. What a sorry piece of trash to do such a thing to a tree, of all peaceful things, a tree!

I still hate Auburn but I love Toomer’s Corner and all it and the tress represented. Sorry Auburn fans.

Zach

February 16th, 2011
6:58 pm

The trees have been in bad shape for a while. They’ve been dying for years. The university has been trying to figure out a way to replace the main tree after a driver crashed into a couple years ago and they found out that it essentially killed the tree. This may have forced their hand.

P. Bull Terrier

February 16th, 2011
6:58 pm

I don’t care for Auburn, but I hope they find the guy who did it and tie him to one of those trees for 48 hours so the Auburn fans can show him how much they appreciate his efforts. What an idiot.

how2fish

February 16th, 2011
6:58 pm

Legend of Len Barker what exactly is the price tag for 100+ year old Oaks that are such a part of the Auburn tradition?

doyle albea

February 16th, 2011
7:00 pm

As the great & late Lewis Grizzard said, “I’m Bulldog born, Bulldog bred, & when I die I’ll be bygod Bulldog dead! I HATE those tigers…but this is NONESENSE!!!!

TampaGator

February 16th, 2011
7:01 pm

Another sign of the times…I am afraid. More and more people just have no clue in today’s world about basic right and wrong. I can’t imagine anyone with any sense at all doing something like this…..but some schools and parents just don’t teach “sense” anymore. What a shame!

UGASlobberknocker

February 16th, 2011
7:02 pm

That’s about as low as you can go. It’s this type of crap that caused that series to be halted back in the mid 1900s for a while. Since it cant be proven that an Alabama fan did it, I hope the Auburn people dont try and retaliate. But if they ever catch the guy who did it, and it turns out he is a bama fan, then all bets are off.

When I was at UGA in the 70’s someone from Clemson came and painted orange tiger paws all over campus, on buildings, signs etc. Everyone was pissed..I can just imagine how the Auburn fans feel with this much worse violation.(p.s. Dawgs went up to Clemson that Sat and spanked the Tigers 41-0 to get a little payback),

My condolences and shared outrage to all Auburn people.

Jack

February 16th, 2011
7:02 pm

I don’t know how much lower you can go as this… I’m a UGA football fan
and if someone from UGA did this I would be really disappointed…
Auburn fans- I hate you guys with burning passion but this was totally
inappropriate and uncalled for.

If an Auburn student did this than- WAR DAMN EAGLE!!!!! hahahaha

blazerdawg

February 16th, 2011
7:03 pm

Vance Duly

February 16th, 2011
7:04 pm

A fool (or idiot, perhaps) is born every minute, apparently……………… Too bad punishments no longer fit their crimes!

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mark Bradley, DeadJournalist, Matthew, John H. Pruett, Jr., Nubyjas Wilborn and others. Nubyjas Wilborn said: RT @MarkBradleyAJC: The trees at Toomer's Corner have been poisoned, and we all should feel sick. #Auburn http://bit.ly/ifaEAw [...]

01HAWK

February 16th, 2011
7:05 pm

Not a good day for Auburn. I hope they catch wnomever did this. Also, this came over today :

Two NCAA investigators interviewed several people in Thibodaux, La., on Monday over Auburn’s recruitment of Trovon Reed and Greg Robinson, according to FoxSports.com.

Reed signed with Auburn in 2010 and Robinson signed with the Tigers earlier this month. FoxSports.com said the investigators were looking into the players’ involvement with Sean Nelson, who, the website said, took the players on multiple unofficial visits to Auburn.

Nelson is Reed’s guardian.

Auburn has not received a letter of inquiry from the NCAA over the two Louisiana players, or in the recruitment of quarterback Cam Newton.

TampaGator

February 16th, 2011
7:05 pm

I remember years back when FSU fans came to Gainesville and chopped off the tail of the live Gator mascot that lived in a pond on campus…and then hung it on campus with a FSU note attached. That was sick. This is stupid.

Hackjobs

February 16th, 2011
7:05 pm

Thank you, Mark. I was doing OK about this, handling it well. Then I got to your last line, and by golly the floodgates just opened.

I have no words to describe this.

sogadog

February 16th, 2011
7:05 pm

Whoever poisoned the trees is a dadburn, lowdown, yellow bellied, scumbag idiot. Auburn, Florida, Tech, Tenn. and South Carolina students and fans are our rivals, but I respect them all. They love their team like we love ours. Good natured passionate ribbing of other fans is fine, but vicious acts of vandalism and violence cannot be tolerated. Lock up the scumbag who did this please.

The games are most definitely worth following and we cant let the idiot who poisoned the trees change the way we feel about college sports. There are far more good people in this world than idiots, the idiots just stand out more.

The Dude

February 16th, 2011
7:06 pm

Wow. Not good.

UGASlobberknocker

February 16th, 2011
7:06 pm

Hey Legend.I have read some good posts from you in the past, but I disagree with the one above. There is a big diff between putting round up on the lawn and killing century old trees. Think of Augusta Natl. What would be worse, poisoning the greens or killing the magnolias? grass can be replaced.

sogadog

February 16th, 2011
7:08 pm

And if anyone knows who poisoned the trees, please drop a dime.

It is just a tree

February 16th, 2011
7:08 pm

lets go read the business section of the newspaper. C’mon. It is a tree, lets get to some real news . . .

Jack

February 16th, 2011
7:09 pm

This is WAY worse than UGA dying… We can always get a new UGA.
Those sacred Auburn trees can never be replaced.

God bless you guys, you don’t deserve this AT ALL!

Can’t wait for next year UGA-Auburn gonna be great…

what the heck is wrong with people?

February 16th, 2011
7:11 pm

tired of these crazy fans who never played a sport in their life doing stupid stuff like this….

Sorry about the trees but...

February 16th, 2011
7:12 pm

Just don’t have a prayer vigil. If there’s a prayer vigil I think I’ll be sick.

how2fish

February 16th, 2011
7:13 pm

It is just a tree= truly a moron…

jumbeauxtiger

February 16th, 2011
7:13 pm

This is very unfortunate and shows how sick some people can be.

Hopefully the trees will recover.

Geaux Tigers

James K Polk

February 16th, 2011
7:14 pm

How do we know whoever did this did it because of football? Why the crack about the hedges? Do we know a Dawg fan did it? Is this truly “evil”? Stupid and heartless…yes, but evil? Worst of times? Step down off the ledge, man. This is just a stupid college kid who went way overboard…it happens, but there are much worse things in the world. I would just like to know how people are so sure this has to do with football? Maybe it does, but people are jumping that shark pretty soon.

82Dawg

February 16th, 2011
7:15 pm

I hope they find the idiots and pour syrup on them, tie them to the tree and let the ants have them. There is no place in Sports for crap like this..

GTBob

February 16th, 2011
7:16 pm

What a sick and twisted thing to do.

Hackjobs

February 16th, 2011
7:16 pm

President Polk- Because some idiot called Finebaum’s show and bragged about it. It’s how the University found out. Identified as Al in Dadeville, and a bama fan.

how2fish

February 16th, 2011
7:17 pm

James K Polk a good indication that it was a football fan is that a guy called a sports talk radio show and claimed the act….not proof but a good indication.

SuzieQ

February 16th, 2011
7:21 pm

A caller to the Finebaum show identified himself as an Alabama fan and bragged about poisoning the trees (including identifying the poison he used) last month. He said he did it (the weekend after the Iron Bowl) because Auburn students rolled the trees when Bear Bryant died, 30 years ago. There is no actual evidence that students celebrated Bryant’s death and the story appears to be little more than Bama legend. I wouldn’t be surprised if this fool gets a few years in prison for this. It wasn’t a simple act of vandalism, it is a federal crime.

MaxShelby

February 16th, 2011
7:22 pm

Get in touch with the folks in Texas who saved the Treaty Oak in Austin from certain death. when it was poisoned.

That tree is alive today, albeit a shadow of what it was, and growing again.