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Auburn: Poisoned Toomer’s oaks are ready to roll

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Toomers

Walmart better start stocking up on toilet paper, because the Toomer's trees are ready for football.

Auburn University officials announced Thursday that they would allow the traditional rolling of the trees this fall even though the prognosis regarding the survival of the poisoned trees remains grim.

After months of reviewing options and obtaining input from the campus, the community and the team of horticultural, agronomy and soils, and forestry experts working to save the trees,  Auburn University and the city will allow the tradition of rolling Toomer's Corner to continue, at least temporarily, this fall. At the recommendation of our experts, the university will no longer use high pressure hoses to clean the trees; they will be cleaned by hand.

Many alternatives were carefully considered, including suspending the tradition or moving it elsewhere. Most of these options created new or additional concerns related to crowd control, traffic, safety issues for our fans and opposing teams' fans, easy access, community property, and the health of other landscaping and park-like areas.

Auburn said its experts will not know whether the trees will survive until the spring of 2012 at the earliest, but until then, they saw no harm in keeping one of Auburn's most sacred traditions alive -- especially if this might be the last year folks are able to participate in it for awhile.

In February, Auburn announced its beloved Toomer's Corner trees had been poisoned with Spike 80DF. The "alleged" tree killer, Harvey Updyke, described poisoning the trees on the "Paul Finebaum Show" on Jan. 27. Updyke has yet to be convicted of the crime.

Since then, there hasn't been a lot of optimism about the trees surviving because of the lethal dose of Spike 80DF that was applied to the soil.

While fans will be allowed to roll the trees, the barricades around the trees will remain in place to keep people from further contaminating the area.

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