By Alton Mitchell
The iconic oak trees at Auburn’s Toomers Corner are set to be replaced this weekend. The replacement of the oaks is the second such action by the University in only two years. The need for replacement follows a September arson that badly damaged one of the iconic oaks.
On Saturday morning a Huntsville, Alabama based company will remove two of the oak trees at Toomers corner and replace them with two new trees. In September following Auburn’s football victory over LSU Jochen Wiest set one of the oak trees on fire causing irreversible damage to the oak.
The damage that his fire caused when he lit hanging toilet paper on fire on one of the oaks was to extensive for the oak to recover from leading officials to have to replace the trees. Wiest plead guilty to his charges from the arson and was order to pay a $1000 fine and $20,807 in restitution for the damages caused.
The present oaks in place were planted in February 2015 when Harvey Updyke poisoned the previous oak trees. Updyke was a fan of a rival University who poisoned the oaks and called a nationally syndicated radio program to brag on his actions. The level of poison Updyke put in the soil was too much for the trees to survive.
University officials confirm that the new trees will not be permitted to be rolled immediately. Officials do confirm once they reach a stage where they can tolerate it rolling can again commence at the corner of College Street and Magnolia in Auburn.