Future Uncertain For Burned Toomer Oak

BURNED TOOMER TREEThroughout the day, people came by to get a look at the damage leftover from the weekend.
There’s even a makeshift memorial in front of the burned tree.

“It’s a hundred year old tradition. Just over the last few years we’ve had two incidents like this. Maybe we have to rethink what we want to do,” said Larry Petty.

“It’s been such a tradition at this school, for people to kind of ruin that, it’s definitely a target on the back of this school and every kind of good moment that the school has had this year,” said Torey Langlois.

29-year-old Jochen Wiest was arrested for setting the tree ablaze on Saturday. He had his first appearance in court on Monday. Currently there’s a $500 bond and he is not allowed to leave the state.

As to the future of the tree, horticulture professor Gary Keever says only time will tell.

“All of the foliage on the tree is essentially brown, yellow brown and we’re probably going to lose it in the next 7 to 10 days. As to whether the tree will survive or not, I think it’s really too early to know that,” said Keever.

The university is asking fans not to roll the tree for the rest of the season.

Keever says we’ll probably have to wait until new growth returns in spring to know just how bad the damage is.

Believe it or not, this isn’t the first time someone has set a tree on fire after a home victory.

“If you think back in 2012 after the Alabama A&M game the paper was set on fire, if you go probably three years before that UGA game, the paper here in the Collin Street tree was set on fire. So that’s nothing new. It’s detrimental to the trees, it’s not as bad as the poisoning,” said Keever.

Depending on what happens with the tree, Wiest could see an additional felony charge.

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