An Auburn University spokesperson says in an interview that she's seeing a mix of shock and determination on campus following the poisoning of two cherished oak trees. But experts believe “the prognosis is not good” for the oaks.
As reported on Digital Journal, a suspect has been arrested and charged with Criminal Mischief 1st Degree for using a herbicide called Spike 80DF, or tebuthiuron, to poison the oak trees located at Toomer’s Corner on the AU campus.
When asked to describe the campus' reaction to the vandalism, Deedie Dowdle, Auburn University’s executive director of communications & marketing, said in an e-mail interview, “Mostly shock, and then a determination to turn this into something as positive as possible. We call it the Auburn Spirit, and it's pretty impressive to see.”
Dowdle noted, “We have had thousands of ideas, suggestions, volunteers coming forward asking how they can help...and, many are from other universities.”
Asked if there was any reason to believe that the man arrested for poisoning Auburn University’s beloved 130-year-old oak trees did not act alone, Dowdle replied, “I can't comment on the investigation -- the Auburn Police are dealing with sensitive matters in that regard. At the press conference today, Chief Tommy Dawson indicated that at this time they were not looking at others being involved.”
Dowdle went on to say that “There was a press conference today that answered much of this and that we will link to [this site] shortly.”
Auburn University Facebook photo
Toomer's Corner at Auburn University.
In terms of whether or not she is optimistic that the oaks can be saved, Dowdle said:
Optimistic? No. Hopeful? Yes. We are proceeding as if we can save the oaks, and talking to experts around the region and the nation, although we have many experts here on campus as well, to do whatever we can. The length of time since this may have been applied, which the person claiming to have done it said may have been some two months ago, and the very wet weather, combined with a dose of herbicide up to 65 times what is necessary to kill the trees, leads our experts to believe the prognosis is not good. We'll know more later this Spring.