14 Trees More Significant Than the Toomer’s Oaks at Auburn


I’m tired of hearing about the plight of the Toomer’s Oaks. Everyone with a brain knows that Harvey Updyke is a loon, and only the most deranged Alabama fans want anything to do with him. It is also true that the Toomer’s Oaks have been dying for years, thanks to the Auburn tradition (I use the term loosely) of throwing toilet paper into the trees after football victories, then pressure-washing the paper out of them. I’m sorry, but if your school’s most well-known tradition involves something most people did in junior high as a prank, I cannot take you seriously as a football program.

As we’ve noted, every time something negative happens to, in or around Auburn University, the tree story is in the news. So in the spirit of keeping the Auburn media relations staff busy, we bring to you a list of 14 trees that are more significant and/or important than the Toomer’s Oaks.

Why 14? Do you really need to ask?

14 The Lone Cypress of Monterey

Standing in Pebble Beach, California, the Lone Cypress is an icon of natural beauty standing in isolation. It stands alone against the backdrop of the crashing waves and foamy surf of the Pacific Ocean.

13  The Talking Trees from The Wizard of Oz

These trees gave the flying monkeys and the munchkins of the lollipop guild a run for their money as the creepiest creatures in this piece of classic cinema adapted from L. Frank Baum’s novel.

12  The Burning Bush

While technically a shrub, any plant that serves a conduit from God to Moses, then has a cameo in Three Amigos, warrants inclusion on this list.

11  The Survivor Tree

An American Elm tree in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma that is located across the street from the Federal building that Timothy McVeigh bombed in 1995.  The tree survived the blast.

10  Tannenbaum

The Christmas carol “O Christmas Tree” was derived from the German “O Tannenbaum.” Auburn sucks. Christmas is awesome.

9  The Tree That Owns Itself

A white oak tree in Athens, Georgia, which is assumed to have obtained legal ownership of itself and all land within eight feet of its base. The original tree died in 1942, but a new one was grown from one of its acorns in the same spot. This tree’s story originates from the late 1800s, on the Jackson family land in Athens. It is said that William Henry Jackson had such fond memories of the tree that he deeded it to it ownership of itself. Ok; whatever. That’s weird.

See UGA, this is the kind of nonsense that ensures you’ll never have nice things. You should for all intents and purposes be a football powerhouse, but instead you’ll always be an underachiever who is more famous for spawning REM and the B-52’s.

8  The Buttonwood Tree

Under a buttonwood tree at the end of Wall Street in New York City, a group of businessmen gathered in the late 1700s and created the the predecessor to the New York Stock Exchange. These men gave birth to what would become the greatest wealth creation machine the world would ever know. Capitalism and free markets have lifted generations out of poverty and into prosperity, and have played no small part in making the United States of America the greatest nation the world has ever seen. It also gave us the Gordon Gekko “Greed is Good” speech from the movie Wall Street.

7  George Washington’s Cherry Tree

The father of our country, legend says, could not tell a lie, so he would not have fit in at Auburn. Washington had to fess up to his father that he had chopped down a cherry tree. In addition to being a stand-up dude, George Washington kicked the crap out of the British, the world’s dominant superpower of his time, became the first President of the United States of America, and owned his own whiskey distillery. As historians have said, George Washington was the man.

6  The Kite Eating Tree

Not only could Charlie Brown never kick a football held by Lucy or successfully strike out a batter, but every time the poor bloke tried to fly a kite, a tree ate it. Charlie Brown had the temperament of a Shaolin Monk. Personally, if some tree kept on eating my kites I would get the biggest chainsaw I could find and go Leatherface on it. Come to think of it, Charlie Brown had to be a powder keg of rage ready to explode at any time. Would anybody really begrudge the boy if if he had, just once, hauled off and given Lucy Van Pelt a face full of shoe leather as she yanked the football away? Every man has his breaking point.

5  The Liberty Tree

In August of 1765, a crowd gathered beneath an elm tree at the corner of Essex and Washington in Boston, Massachusetts to protest the Stamp Act. This required American colonists to pay a tax on playing cards, pamphlets, newspapers, contracts and other legal documents. The colonists weren’t about to put up with taxation without representation, and decided that they had put up with just about enough from their British overlords. The Sons of Liberty tarred and feathered a British tax collector beneath the Liberty Tree, and then (in my mind at least) broke out in the very first chant of “USA! USA! USA!”

4  Some Random Hickory Tree

Last weekend my wife surprised me with a Weber Smokey Mountain smoker for Father’s Day. I smoked two racks of ribs and a beer can chicken using a couple handfuls of soaked cherry chips and some hickory wood chunks and hickory charcoal. The food was delicious. The tree that provided those wood chunks is more significant to me than the oak trees in greater Opelika, since it provided the fuel for a a wonderful meal for family and friends, as well as two nights’ worth of leftovers.

3  The Nick Saban Coaching Tree

Former Nick Saban assistants currently patrol the sidelines at Florida, Florida State, Tennessee and Colorado State. I look forward to the 2020 season, when new Alabama head coach and former Nick Saban protege Kirby Smart leads the Crimson Tide to another national championship.

2  The Giving Tree

If you can read Shel Silverstein’s masterpiece “The Giving Tree” without getting a lump in your throat and a tear in your eye, then you do not have a soul. Over the course of the book, published in 1964, an apple tree provides a boy with food to eat, then a man with wood in which to build a boat, and finally an old man a stump to sit and rest. Countless academics have studied the book and analyzed it to death, debating on its messages and commentaries on adolescence, adulthood, selfishness and parenting styles. I prefer to think of it as a simple and beautiful story of unconditional love that teaches us that it is truly better to give than to receive.

1  The Tree of Knowledge

In the story of perhaps the most famous tree in recorded history, Adam and Eve eat its fruit and are cast out of the Garden of Eden. While I am certainly no theologian, I think the basic premise of the story boils down to the fact that a naked woman convinced a dude to do something that was against his better judgement. This is more commonly known as human nature.

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