AUBURN, Ala. (AP) – Auburn University is once again replacing its landmark oak trees at Toomer’s Corner.
A university statement says workers will plant new trees on Saturday because of damage caused by a fire in September.
“The fire in September severely damaged the Magnolia Avenue tree,” said Gary Keever, Auburn University horticulture professor. “The appearance of the tree is unacceptable, and we don’t believe it will recover within a reasonable time period.”
The current trees were planted there after a University of Alabama fan poisoned the original Toomer’s oaks.
Toomer’s Corner is a traditional gathering for Auburn fans to celebrate football victories by rolling the trees with toilet paper. A German man pleaded guilty last month to setting fire to paper on one of the trees after a game.
“The College Street tree has failed to become established as you can see by dead branches at the top,” Keever said. “If it had not been for the fire, though, we would have pruned those branches and continued nurturing both trees.”
The new trees will be slightly smaller than the original replacements. University horticulturist Gary Keever says smaller trees generally fare better than older ones when they’re being transplanted.
Fans won’t be allowed to roll the new trees until they’re older.