AU could delay planting new Toomer's tree until 2015

AU could delay planting new Toomer's tree until 2015
Toomer's Oaks.
Toomer's Oaks.

AUBURN, AL (WTVM) - Over three ago the Oaks at Toomer's Corner were poisoned and now Auburn University is counting down the weeks until new renovations begin.

"It is an extensive renovation. There's a lot of soil to be taken out and there will be some neat things that we plant around that area, some seating areas, and some things to really draw people to the corner," says Mike Clardy, AU Communications Director.

AU originally planned to replace the trees in time for the 2014 football season, but now because of the amount of herbicide still present in the soil, new trees may not be planted until early next year.

A proposal of the new plan will be placed in front of Auburn University Board of Trustee members at Friday's meeting to be discussed and acted on.

"If it passes we're going to have a new plan put in place and work could begin as early as this spring. Once the soil is removed and replaced then we start prepping things for the tree transplant and the best time to transplant a tree is not the spring or summer, it's in the cooler months," explains Clardy.

After speaking with Auburn students like Joseph Lundy, the response seemed to be consistent.

It doesn't matter how long it takes to renovate the corner, just as long as it's done right and can be enjoyed by all.

"The ground was super poisoned so whatever is best for the trees is better for us because at the end of the day we want them to last as long as the last ones did," says Lundy.

Planting new trees is a part of the University's plan for phase I of the renovations that also includes removing and replacing the existing pavers and soil in the area, retaining the 1917 brick gates and creating a circular seat wall.

Phase II would create a tree lined walkway from the corner into Samford Lawn.

"No matter what trees we put in there we don't want people rolling them right away. They're probably not going to be large, they need some room to grow and a few years to establish roots," explains Clardy, "So whatever goes in and whether it's today or next year, they are going to do that."

Copyright 2014 WTVM. All rights reserved.