AUBURN, Ala. — Gary Keever, an Auburn professor in the horticulture department, is the go-to source for all things regarding the Toomer’s Corner oaks.
Following Sunday morning’s incident — police have a man in custody — Keever checked out the status of the trees. He will return later Sunday for a second look. After the initial view, here’s his take on the future of Auburn’s favorite trees, as he told SEC Country via email.
“At this time, we know that the upper canopy, the lower canopy on the northwest side, and the base of the trunk were burned. Based on the leaf curl and off-color of the foliage in parts of the canopy, these leaves will drop over the next several days. We plan to use a lift to inspect the shoots in the canopy early this week,” Keever wrote.
“The full extent of the damage won’t be known for several days to several weeks, and perhaps not until we see regrowth in spring. Based on the initial appearance of the tree, I don’t think the fire has killed the tree; however, aesthetic death, when the tree declines to such and extent that it detracts from the landscape and there is little chance of it returning to its full grandeur, may warrant consideration of removal as a result of this act.”