Auburn Officials: Toomer’s Oaks Keepsakes Will Be Safe, No Danger From Poison

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AUBURN, Ala. (WHNT)– Tuesday morning the two historic oak trees at Toomer’s Corner are set to be cut down.   The trees are dying because of a poisoning that took place in late 2010.  Harvey Updyke pleaded guilty to the crime.

The trees are expected to be cut around seven Tuesday morning.   Officials are expecting a crowd to watch the emotional event.

“We are going to put up a perimeter around the intersection,” said Auburn spokesperson Mike Clardy. “We fully expect there will be lots of people here.”

Once the trees are cut, the wood will be turned into keepsakes that can be purchased by the public.

“Our licensed manufacturers will make some really neat things out of these,” according to Clardy.  “The real winners are going to be students down the road because we are going to make scholarships out of the wood, you know.  The wood will actually be sold and the royalties will go toward scholarships, so somebody will benefit from what was a very senseless act.”

The herbicide used to poison the trees is called tebuthiuron.  Auburn horticulturists say any keepsakes made from the wood should be safe.

“They checked with the folks at Dow Agriscience who makes the chemical,” said Clardy. “And they said that the amount of tebuthiuron in the products will be minuscule.  It will not be harmful to mammals, which includes us, dogs who might get a hold of something.   They say it will be safe and we trust that.”

Next week Auburn officials will unveil their official plans for the type of products that will be available from the trees.

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