"Apparently we’re to believe that he just happened to call in with knowledge of the exact poison that was actually used… before anyone knew the trees had even been poisoned. Uh, yeah."
Uhhh, auburn put the poison in the soil just before they sent it to Miss State for analysis (they should have included a check to Miss State for $200,000 for Cam Newton also). The trees were never poisoned. The amount of poison *reported* WOULD kill them but, they will not die. You watch, the trees will live and it will be "God's will", sayeth auburn. All Harvey Updyke did was make a prank phone call. auburn knew of the prank phone call and created this story ON THEIR OWN as at least one 'anti-Bama' story to try to dilute all the stories about investigations into auburn's cheating & corrupt athletics department.
Just a day or two after the prank phone call occurred an auburn official working in the turf management department posted on the university blog that he did not think the tree had actually been poisoned. This is what he posted and, while this is real & legit, the university blog has since been removed by auburn officials:
Toomer's Oaks are Fine(baum)- Just a Toilet Paper Overdose.
I have been watching all the traffic related to possible poisoning of Toomer's oaks. I heard over the water cooler that someone called into the Paul Finebaum Show claiming they had poisoned the Toomer's oaks with the herbicide Spike. I was very skeptical, but I knew I could quickly determine if this was true. First, never passing up a teachable moment let me do some explaining.
The herbicide in question is sold by the name "Spike", but the active ingredient, the chemical compound that actually kills the plants, is called tebuthiuron. Tebuthiuron is very specific in its action--it essentially blocks photosynthesis from occurring. It is very specific to plants and is safe to humans.
With many herbicides, if one wants to tell if a plant has been purposely treated, one would take soil and leaf samples, extract the herbicide, and run it through some chemical analytical test to determine if the herbicide is present. This process can take weeks. But with tebuthiuron, since it specifically stops photosynthesis, a negative herbicide effect can be determined in a few minutes.
So I took my handy, dandy handheld chlorophyll fluorometer up to Toomer's Corner, clamped it on a few leaves and checked photosynthesis. Everything is fine. It has been two months since the alleged poisoning, and there should be a reduction in photosynthetic activity-- and there is not. Just in case it occurred more recently, Auburn Horticulture has taken some soil and leaf samples for future analysis, if any damage ever appears. For now that is a moot point, the trees are fine, just a little beat up from all the toilet paper clean up. I will keep checking over the next few weeks just to make sure.
To anyone who has had the idea of poisoning Toomer's oaks or killing your neighbor's tree that is blocking your satellite reception--you can easily be caught. Not only can one quickly measure photosynthesis of the plant, but the herbicide will last up to a year in the soil surface and a little longer in the killed plant. It will be very easy to catch you.
- Scott McElroy, PhD@auburnturf
Department of Agronomy and Soils
Posted by auburnturf at 11:16 AM Email This Blog