Toomer’s Corner oaks poisoned, expected to die

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 17, 2011

Rolling Toomer’s Corner will never be the same again.

According to an Auburn University press release, the university confirmed that an herbicide used to kill trees was “deliberately applied in lethal amounts to the soil around the Toomer’s Corner live oaks on campus, and there is little chance to save the trees.”

Auburn’s city police is investigating the situation, and how the herbicide, known as Spike 80DF (tebuthiuron) was applied to the sites.

The press release indicates that the university does not use the herbicide in question.

On Jan. 27, a caller to “The Paul Finebaum Show” claimed he had applied the herbicide, according to the release.

The next day, soil samples were taken to the Alabama State Pesticide Residue Laboratory on Auburn’s campus for analysis. As a result of a small fire at the lab, the samples were shipped to Mississippi State University in Starkville for results.

The lowest lethal dose detected at the site was as low as 0.78 parts per million, and the highest amount detected was 51 parts per million (65 times the lowest dose), according to the release.

The trees were estimated to be more than 130 years old.

-Andrew Garner