AUBURN, AL (AP) — A 29-year-old Auburn man has been charged with desecration of a venerable object in a fire that damaged oak trees at Toomer’s Corner as fans celebrated a victory over LSU.
Jochen Wiest was initially arrested on a charge of public intoxication, but Auburn police said in a news release Sunday that witnesses identified him in connection with the tree’s burning .
Auburn this season renewed the tradition allowing fans to roll the trees with toilet paper after wins.
The trees were planted in 2015 after the original oaks were poisoned by an Alabama fan.
Gary Keever, a professor of horticulture at Auburn, said there is significant damage to the leaves and base of the tree.
“I expect the foliage will continue to drop,” Keever said. “The full extent of damage may not be known for several weeks. The best case scenario would be to see a flush of new growth next spring, but right now it’s too early to tell how the tree will respond.”
Landscape crews will need to replace irrigation pipes that watered the tree through the heat of the day.
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