First generation seedlings from new Auburn Oaks to benefit horticulture students

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Auburn University's Department of Horticulture is offering seedlings from one of the new Auburn Oaks so fans can have part of the Auburn tradition at home. Proceeds from the sale of the two- to three-foot seedlings, grown from acorns of the College Street tree, go toward the department's academic programs.

"The tree formed new shoots in spring 2015 and produced acorns that summer and fall," said Gary Keever, horticulture professor. "Our faculty and students collected acorns in October and planted them in pots in a greenhouse on campus."

The two live oak trees at the College Street and Magnolia Avenue intersection form the famous Auburn Oaks at Toomer's Corner. They were transplanted as full grown trees in 2015 to replace the original trees that were removed in 2013 after being poisoned in 2011. The College Street tree was transplanted in February 2015 and the Magnolia Avenue tree in July 2015.

"Because a live oak doesn't require a period of low temperature for its acorns to germinate, the acorns sprouted within two or three weeks, and the seedlings grew throughout last winter," Keever said. "In the spring, the seedlings were moved outdoors to continue growing. They have straight trunks, dark, glossy foliage and vigorous root systems."

Trees may be purchased for $125 from the College of Agriculture website at Sales will include a certificate identifying the tree as a first generation descendant of the new Auburn Oaks, as well as planting and care instructions. The Department of Horticulture also has clones and seedlings from the original Auburn Oaks for sale. More information is available on the website or by contacting Heath Hoffman at 334-844-4660.

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