AU officials: No plans yet to replace burned Toomer’s oak

AU officials: No plans yet to replace burned Toomer’s oak

AUBURN, AL (WTVM) - Officials with Auburn University say they have not made any definitive plans yet regarding the future of the severely burned oak tree at Toomer's Corner.

The Magnolia Avenue tree was set on fire in the early hours of Sunday, Sept. 25 after the Auburn-LSU football game.

Mike Clardy, Interim Assistant Vice President and Director of the university's Office of Communications and Marketing, said there is no plan in the works to replace the tree just yet.

Horticulture professor Gary Keever released the following statement about the tree's condition:

"Our message to the Auburn Family about the Magnolia Avenue tree remains the same as from the outset, that it is severely damaged from the Sept. 25 fire. We have conducted three assessments of its health, the most recent one showing 60-70 percent of the tree's canopy is dead. A few new leaves have formed on some of the live branches, however, this does not indicate additional growth will occur or that those branches will be alive in the spring. Although the outlook is not promising, Auburn is doing everything possible to save the tree. We will continue to monitor the tree and provide updates as they become available."

Jochen Wiest, the suspect accused of intentionally lighting the tree on fire, is being charged with first-degree criminal mischief, a felony, in addition to the desecration of a venerated object and public intoxication charges. His case was sent to a grand jury on Oct. 19.

This is a developing story. Stay tuned for more details.

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