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Ready to roll: Toomer’s Oaks cleared for one of college football’s great traditions

Graham Watson
Dr. Saturday

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Good news Auburn fans — and fans of college football tradition in general — the Toomer's Oaks trees, which were poisoned in 2010, are healthy enough to withstand their traditional barrage of toilet paper this year.

The city pruned the trees Wednesday to remove weakened branches and the leaves are brown and the canopies aren't as large as they used to be, but the trees continue to hang in there even after being poisoned with a powerful herbacide.

Harvey Updyke, an Alabama fan, is accused of poisoning the trees in 2010, but the poisoning was not discovered until 2011. Since then, every effort has been made to save the 131-year-old trees, but the long-term prognosis has not been good. Still, the committee charged with saving the trees thinks the traditionally rolling won't do any more damage.

"While long-term decisions about the trees have not been made, fans are still welcome to gather at the corner this fall and continue the tradition of rolling the trees with toilet paper," the committee said the brief statement.

Updyke is currently awaiting trial. It was supposed to begin in June, but was pushed back to Oct. 1 after Updyke confessed to his crime to a student newspaper outside of the courthouse. Updyke has pleaded not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect.

While the poisoning of the trees has put a damper on Saturday football at Auburn, the fact that the trees are healthy enough to continue to be rolled is a good sign and allows one of the best traditions in college football to continue.

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