For the first time in several years, the famed Auburn Oaks at Toomer’s Corner are again ready to roll.
The decision to allow rolling of the large oaks was made recently after years of Auburn University asking fans to hold off on doing so to the two new trees that were planted six years ago. Now, the university has determined the oaks are established enough for the tradition to return.
“The rolling of Toomer’s Corner is one of the nation’s top sports traditions,” Auburn President Christopher B. Roberts said. “Our fans have come together for decades on the corner of Magnolia and College to celebrate our big wins. In recent years, we continued our cherished tradition by rolling different trees, but I am very excited that the Auburn Family will once again be able to roll our most prominent trees.”
The original Auburn Oaks planted between 1937 and 1939 were removed from the corner in April 2013 after being poisoned in 2010. A duo of new live oaks was planted in February 2015, but one of the trees was lit on fire following rolling being allowed for fall 2016. Both trees were damaged and removed. After the two current Auburn Oaks were planted in February 2017, the university asked fans to not roll the two new trees until they had time to become established.
“Both trees have made excellent progress since planting took place six years ago and are now considered to have recovered from transplant stress,” said Alex Hedgepath, Auburn University arborist. “Because of the Auburn Family’s commitment, the trees are now established and can withstand rolling and cleanup efforts after Auburn athletic victories. With continued care, we expect the trees to grow vigorously and become further established.”
This care involves a weekly health check that includes monitoring soil moisture and a bi-annual checkup where soil samples are taken to ensure needed nutrients are available. The root system expansion is measured to monitor growth and other assessments are made to determine the trees’ overall health.
“The Auburn Oaks are still under a near constant maintenance and growth program,” Hedgepath said. “If anything, the maintenance program for the trees will be even more intense as we combat the impact of rolling and soil compaction from rolling events.”
A rigorous health care routine and the commitment of the Auburn Family led to the return to rolling.
“We knew from the beginning it was a huge request to ask our fans to not roll the two new Auburn Oaks at Toomer’s Corner,” said Justin Sutton, director of Facilities Management Landscape Services. “We knew this short-term request would reap long-term benefits in upholding one of the best collegiate athletic traditions of rolling Toomer’s Corner. The long-term establishment, overall health and projected long life of these trees was our goal from the beginning. With the help of the Auburn Family, we feel as if we’ve reached this milestone.”