Two oak trees on the Auburn University campus were burned in the early morning hours in November. A video showed the trees rolled with toilet paper and two men passing the trees just before the fire started. A week after the fire, most of the trees’ foliage had browned and begun to fall off. The trees were examined by members of Auburn University’s Trees Task Force and were found to have severe injury and death of most of the rootstalk and rhizomic shoots, damage to the bark of the trees at ground level, leaf scorching, and damage to surrounding trees and shrubs. Because of the timing of the fire, new leaves will probably not form on the tree until next spring.
The trees were already in severe decline due to a case of poisoning last year, and the task force said that the fire would likely further weaken the trees. “Everyone takes a lot of pride in the oak trees and no one wants to see something like that happen” said Police Capt. Tom Stofer.