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Auburn University: Bleak future for Toomer’s oaks

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Before and after of the Toomer's trees (source: Auburn University) Before and after of the Toomer's trees (source: Auburn University)
(Source: Auburn University Office of Communications and Marketing) (Source: Auburn University Office of Communications and Marketing)
(Source: Auburn University Office of Communications and Marketing) (Source: Auburn University Office of Communications and Marketing)
(Source: Auburn University Office of Communications and Marketing) (Source: Auburn University Office of Communications and Marketing)
(Source: Auburn University Office of Communications and Marketing) (Source: Auburn University Office of Communications and Marketing)
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AUBURN, AL (WTVM) -

The Auburn family has been anxiously waiting to hear the final verdict on the condition of the oak trees at Toomer's Corner.  

Now, 18 months after it was announced the trees had been poisoned with Spike 80DF (tebuthiuron), they finally have an answer.

Auburn University's Office of Communications and Marketing issued a press release on Friday explaining the current condition and future of the beloved oaks:

"Both trees leafed out in spring 2012 with healthy foliage, but since then both have steadily declined.  The College St. tree is about 90 percent defoliated and bare branches show no signs of developing new leaves. The Magnolia Ave. tree has more foliage but most of the leaves exhibit signs of herbicide poisoning, and if they follow last year's pattern, will abscise before the end of summer.

"The long-term outlook for the trees is not good. Bare branches will die without re-foliation and their removal will leave trees that are aesthetically dead if not actually dead. Replacement would be the next step; however, this process would probably not occur for 6 to 18 months, depending upon the size of the new trees.

"Rolling of the trees will be allowed this fall; however, trees will continue to be evaluated during this period for branches that may become hazardous; rolling may be temporarily stopped until these branches are removed."

The press release, which can be found here, also lists the Toomer's Task Force's efforts to remediate the herbicide's effects.

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