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TulaneLSU
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Member since Dec 2007
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TulaneLSU's Top 10 trees of Auburn University
Dear Friends,

Trees, of which there are over 60,000 known species, are one of the most beautiful creations in God’s worlds. My family has always been fond of the Southern live oak, and the two houses of my life have had several majestic ones. While I hesitate to call these oaks my family’s oaks, because who really owns a tree, I have christened each of our oaks. While you may find this odd, to me, they are living things that give back to me affection and feelings similar to what I give to them. Each tree, if one gets to know it well, has a life of its own and a way of communicating that life. This life, of course, is not a personality, as foolish pet owners are inclined to attribute incorrectly to their pets. Only a person has a personality. But these trees have lives which verily give life.

Image: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49880490491_cc8269130d_k.jpg


This week I had the pleasure of riding one of Auburn’s bike as well as walking through campus. Auburn University is a beautiful university, but it lacks that south of the Deep South feel one gets on campuses like Tulane, LSU, and UF. To sit under a live oak in the midst of an oak grove behind the LSU Union is to sit in a shaded paradise where light duels with the shadows and branches the size of trunks reach out to each other like lovers yearning to embrace.

While Auburn stirs the heart, it is not in the same way as on these other campuses. I wondered why. Then I realized it was Auburn’s lack of live oak trees. While there is a small bunch of newly planted live oaks in the northeast section of campus, for the most part, the campus has the ambience and character of a northern Southern or even Mid-Atlantic campus. The trees are what make the difference.

Whereas schools like LSU depend almost entirely on live oaks for shade and mood, Auburn branches out. There are over 40 species of oaks native to this region and Auburn takes full advantage of this diversity. A walk through campus will expose the attentive walker to overcup oak, bur oak, sand post oak, white oak, and Oglethorpe oak trees, among many others. Auburn alumni and fans make take this diversity for granted. For a person exposed to the monotony -- a word not used in the pejorative sense of boredom -- of the monolithic live oak, this panoply of oaks was a revelation.

I hope, in addition to these chapters:
TulaneLSU's top 10 staircases of Auburn University
TulaneLSU's Top 10 flowers of Auburn University
TulaneLSU's Top 10 pizzas of Auburn, AL
TulaneLSU's guide to Goodwater, AL
TulaneLSU's Top 10 signs of Ashland, AL, you may enjoy
TulaneLSU’s Top 10 trees of Auburn University:



10. Tree grove in front engineering college

Image: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49900406308_352ccb84aa_k.jpg


This patch of 21 trees caught my attention, not for what they are now, but for what they may one day become. Friends, there is no time better to plant a tree in your yard than today. Well, yesterday would have been better, but today is the best we have available now. The agora here has a matching grove behind me.


9. Bald cypress and their knees

Image: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49901230622_08ba50b779_k.jpg


As a child, I thought only south Louisiana had bald cypress. One of my great uncles talked in a south Louisiana exceptionalist kind of way. His father had logging rights to a large swath of the Maurepas land bridge between Frenier and Ruddock. His stories from childhood of visiting that culture and geography, both of which are now gone, I wish I had recorded on paper. I do remember him telling me about an old farmer who had become a cypress logger for his father. The man had lost a leg to a fourteen foot alligator in those swamps, yet carried on logging.

Anyway, I have since learned that bald cypress exist throughout the South, including at Auburn University. These are amazing trees, as they can grow on land as well as in water. For one week each year, usually in April in south Louisiana, the leaves are fluorescent green. I was blessed to catch that burst of neon this week in Auburn.

8. Crape myrtles

Image: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49901230892_281962cae7_k.jpg


At the heart of campus are some of the oldest monuments and remnants. I found these old crape myrtles in this area. There is a distinction in crape myrtles once they reach a certain age. No longer are their scrawny shoots nettlesome. After a few decades these shoots become regal and smooth dermis-like surfaces.
This post was edited on 5/16 at 9:31 am


TulaneLSU
TBD Fan
Member since Aug 2003
Member since Dec 2007
11096 posts

re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 trees of Auburn University
7. Pine in Davis Arboretum

Image: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49901231487_e7f5dd797e_k.jpg


Image: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49901231142_c7cdf8f40a_k.jpg


Mother taught me that pine trees are trash trees and should be plucked the moment they sprout from the ground. When I was cultivating in our old greenhouse saplings of several tree varieties that I found in City Park’s Couturie Forest, she discovered a pine with the magnolias, oaks, and maples. “TulaneLSU!” she summoned me. “What on earth are you doing with this pine tree? What have I told you about these disgusting things?” Before I could answer, she continued, “Burn it. Poison it. Just get rid of it today.”

Mother despises pine trees. I have never asked her the reason why, but I suspect it has something to do with the family's old Garden District home being damaged by a falling pine during the Hurricane of 1915. Whatever the reason, her distaste for pine trees passed to me, and I generally do not like pines. But this pine caught my eye. Its corrugated bark armor it like a big head lizard’s skin. Its thin branches are an afterthought of the trunk's desire to reach the sky via the straightest of routes.

6. Oak on College St.

Image: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49900407943_c1872b7511_k.jpg


This oak friend, just south of the Toomer oaks, has the most elegant of branches, some of which shoot heavenward at right angles. This tree calls to mind the words of the Psalmist: When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?

The arms of this tree shoot our gaze and minds to the heavens. Is there any better a friend than the friend who reminds us to look to God for all that we need?


5. Sycamore tree

Image: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49900924101_14865ebf84_k.jpg


A beautiful example of the sycamore, it reminded me of the Peace Tree under which Mother informed me of Great, Great, Great, Great, Great, Great Grandmother’s concupiscence.

4. Elephant ear magnolia

Image: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49900408678_5cb18fb0e3_k.jpg


Did you know the elephant ear magnolia, often called big leaf magnolia, has the largest leaf and flower of any plant on our continent? I did not. This magnificent tree has a small distribution and is rare, and becoming more rare, as scavengers find and sell these trees. What was as remarkable to me as these leaves measuring more than three feet in length was that they came from a tree whose trunk was just inches thick. Do you see that tree trunk just left of the leaf? That is the trunk from which sprouts this branch and leaves! Incredible are God’s amazing botanical graces!

3. Oak before Cary Hall

Image: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49900924661_0ffd209494_k.jpg


Of all the oaks at Auburn, I thought this one had the greatest degree of symmetry and complexity of branching. It is a beautiful oak.


2. Toomer’s Corner oaks

Image: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49900925411_1e22fea79e_k.jpg


[url=https://flic.kr/p/2j2zhy2] Image: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49900925241_9bfa8ec070_k.jpg


Image: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49900409278_9115067cc5_k.jpg


Apparently a decade ago a homegrown terrorist with a pathological and irrational hatred of Auburn University poisoned the original live oaks that stood sentinel at the northeast campus gate. They were replaced only to be burned down by a drunk German six years later. Germans really are some of the worst tourists in the world, and anyone who has ever had to share a poolside with them understands that the aggressive German mindset of superiority from the previous century persists today.

These trees are some of the nation’s most famous trees, so when I arrived I could not wait to see them. I walked through Toomer’s Corner several times looking for them, but did not see them. I did not at that time know they had been replaced with young trees. Only when I asked a young girl at Toomer’s Drugs did she tell me the above stories. And then pointed me in the right direction.

The toilet paper rolling phenomenon on the trees at this corner is not that old, dating back only to the 1970s. I like tradition, but this is not a tradition I admire or in which I would partake. I have too much respect for trees to cover them in paper, and it is a waste of toilet paper.

1. Founders’ Oak

Image: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49900925966_cd15ee8d47_k.jpg


Image: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49900925686_c6fc9d6ad6_k.jpg


Born in 1850 from an acorn the size of a large blueberry, this post oak is older than Auburn University. It is located in the Davis Arboretum. This tree, for Auburnites and visitors, can be a daily reminder of the words of Jesus: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.”

May the seed of life and love find fertile soil within your hearts this day.

Faith, Hope, and Love,
TulaneLSU

Image: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49900922121_532aa56aee_k.jpg

Ginko biloba tree bark

Image: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49901224616_069e018a39_k.jpg
This post was edited on 5/16 at 8:35 am


Douglas Quaid
TBD Fan
Mars
Member since Mar 2010
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re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 trees of Auburn University
I got a few hundred pounds of salt that I need to do something with.


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OysterPoBoy
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City of St. George
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re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 trees of Auburn University
I hope you’re wearing a mask on these adventures. Stay safe.


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FlyinTiger93
LSU Fan
Member since May 2010
1639 posts

re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 trees of Auburn University
Did you leave your rock message, or politely return them after the picture?


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Stexas
LSU Fan
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Member since May 2013
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re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 trees of Auburn University


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Jyrdis
UC Irvine Fan
Dead
Member since Aug 2015
8339 posts

re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 trees of Auburn University
Be honest. You chose your number one because it has boobs.


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johnnyrocket
LSU Fan
Ghetto once known as Baton Rouge
Member since Apr 2013
4775 posts
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re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 trees of Auburn University
Better take that down before football season as Gump fans like to kill trees.


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IAmNERD
Auburn Fan
Member since May 2017
6257 posts
 Online 

re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 trees of Auburn University
quote:

While Auburn stirs the heart, it is not in the same way as on these other campuses. I wondered why. Then I realized it was Auburn’s lack of live oak trees

I see you learned the fate of our most famous trees on your visit to Toomer's. I agree with you about the lack of a nice quiet Grove to sit and ponder makes it feel not very "deep south".

The past decade or more of new construction and the city of Auburn annexing and expanding it's borders have given the campus and town a completely different vibe from when I was there in the early 2000's. I still have a special place in my heart for my beloved University and town of Auburn, but I feel like the growth was too fast and some of the charm has been lost with that growth.

Hope you enjoy your stay in the loveliest village on the plains, friend.
This post was edited on 5/16 at 9:42 am


Kim Jong Ir
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Jan 2008
45892 posts
 Online 

re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 trees of Auburn University
Not a legit list if the Ginkgo behind the library is not on it


TulaneLSU
TBD Fan
Member since Aug 2003
Member since Dec 2007
11096 posts

re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 trees of Auburn University
Friend,

See photo above the last photo.

Yours,
TulaneLSU


dukke v
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PLUTO
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176181 posts

re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 trees of Auburn University
Nice pics........


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TulaneLSU
TBD Fan
Member since Aug 2003
Member since Dec 2007
11096 posts

re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 trees of Auburn University
Friend,

Thank you. I still quite enjoyed my time on this lovely campus, even if it isn't what it was before the construction boom. It seems most of the new build is on the very western edge and southern edge. The southern edge, with the museum, osteopathic school, and performing arts center is a wonderful green prairie.

Yours,
TulaneLSU


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Eightballjacket
LSU Fan
Member since Jan 2016
3987 posts

re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 trees of Auburn University
quote:

several tree varieties that I found in City Park’s Couturie Forest

Timber piracy is against the law I'm telling the City Park security officers to keep a lookout for you.


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LoneStar23
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re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 trees of Auburn University
I honestly thought you never left New Orleans


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Marco Esquandolas
Alabama Fan
Member since Jul 2013
10461 posts

re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 trees of Auburn University
quote:

Mother despises pine trees. I have never asked her the reason why, but I suspect it has something to do with the family's old Garden District home being damaged by a falling pine during the Hurricane of 1915.




This stuff right here...this is why I read TulaneLSU threads!



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DavidTheGnome
Monroe
Member since Apr 2015
21156 posts

re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 trees of Auburn University


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Pussykat
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re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 trees of Auburn University
Very enjoyable thread, thanks so much. I love and am in awe of trees.


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SECdragonmaster
Auburn Fan
Order of the Dragons
Member since Dec 2013
11779 posts

re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 trees of Auburn University
I may be TulaneLSU’s biggest fan and to have the pleasure of reading him while he writes of my alma mater is pure joy.

Thank you for your work and your bold faith.

It is refreshing.


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Kim Jong Ir
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Jan 2008
45892 posts
 Online 

re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 trees of Auburn University
quote:

Friend,

See photo above the last photo.

Yours,
TulaneLSU




I saw the pic. The tree wasn't on the list was it?


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