Auburn University invites community to witness planting of new oak trees on Valentine's Day

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Nearly four years to the day that Auburn University announced the lethal poisoning of the historic Auburn Oaks, two new live oaks will begin taking root in Samford Park at Toomer’s Corner.

Landscapers are scheduled to begin planting the 35-foot-tall trees at 8 a.m. on Feb. 14. The university is inviting the public to attend the event, which should finish early in the afternoon. A viewing area will be set up, and streets will be closed for safety reasons.

“We are partnering with the City of Auburn to make this a special day,” said Mike Clardy, director of university communications. “Downtown merchants will be open early and three of Auburn’s athletic teams will be in action that day. We are hoping people will come to the Plains and make a weekend out of it.”

Beginning around 7:30 a.m., crews will close College Street from Thach Avenue to Tichenor Avenue, and Magnolia Avenue from Wright Street to the Compass Bank parking lot entrance.  Roads are expected to remain closed until 2 p.m.

The new trees will arrive at Toomer’s Corner via flatbed trailer between 7:30 and 8 a.m.

The planting of the oaks is the final step in Phase I of the Samford Park renovation, which included enlarging the plaza and improving the landscaping near the corner. The second phase, slated to begin after A-Day in April, will feature the planting of 30 15-foot-tall trees – grown from acorns collected from the original oaks – between Toomer’s Corner and Samford Hall.

The university is asking fans not to roll the two new oak trees until fall 2016 as they establish roots and acclimate to their new environment.

For more information about the Auburn Oaks, visit

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Auburn University is a nationally ranked land grant institution recognized for its commitment to world-class scholarship, interdisciplinary research with an elite, top-tier Carnegie R1 classification, life-changing outreach with Carnegie’s Community Engagement designation and an undergraduate education experience second to none. Auburn is home to more than 30,000 students, and its faculty and research partners collaborate to develop and deliver meaningful scholarship, science and technology-based advancements that meet pressing regional, national and global needs. Auburn’s commitment to active student engagement, professional success and public/private partnership drives a growing reputation for outreach and extension that delivers broad economic, health and societal impact.