This story is exactly what it sounds like. Al Arcidiacono, who has become an accidental celebrity in the online truck community, owns a 2000 GMC Sierra with a tree growing through it. The truck is so riddled with rust it isn't funny, but what's hilarious is that the plant has now been growing for nearly two years without showing any signs of stopping. It's grown so much that in order to preserve it, the perfectly running pickup has essentially been parked for good to let nature run its course.
I first wrote about Al's truck in January of 2022. The "rocker tree," as it's been affectionately named, was just a wee little thing back then. He could still drive his GMC to and from Home Depot, so long as he covered the plant with a Fancy Feast box to keep the wind off it. That's no longer the case, though.
"Now it's so big I don't know what the heck I'd put over it," Al told me on the phone. "I'd have to build a house around it.
"I think honestly the tree is mature enough maybe it'd be okay. But now the risk is I go drive it somewhere, I get out of my truck for a minute to run into the store, and some goofball is gonna say, 'Look at that tree!' And yank it out."
Al posts tree updates fairly regularly in the Facebook group that's dedicated to the plant, which now has nearly 4,000 good timin' members. Someone else actually created the group, and once it started to pick up steam, they handed it over to Al. Now he can keep everyone who wants to know about the tree up to speed without bugging those who don't. Let's be real, though—who wouldn't want to hear about this?
Several people, my high school ag teacher included, initially thought it was an umbrella plant growing out of the rocker. Now Al says it's clearly growing out of the fender, and he believes it to be a Florida strangler fig (scientific name, Ficus aurea). That's a ridiculously hardcore type of tree that thrives on neglect and harsh conditions. He tells me he has one growing on a palm tree at his property in Florida, and even without any real soil or nutrients, it has totally taken over.
That's more or less the plan for the GMC at this point. It's comical for obvious reasons, as Al recounted, "I thought it was funny so I posted it to the GMT800 group because we always make fun of how bad these trucks rust. They're returning to earth, right? So to see earth growing out of my truck, I thought it was funny." But it's also a little sad because there's nothing really wrong with the Sierra aside from the rust.
"It sucks to have one less truck that I can really utilize for its purpose," Al said. "I had put brand new tires on that truck before the tree started growing out of it so part of it kills me to see my truck sit around. You know, it's for the greater good."
Al starts it up and drives it across his farm, but only rarely. "The tree doesn't do well driving around at 30+ mph. It beats the actual crap out of it," he said.
Al was driving the GMC nearly every day when he first noticed the leaves popping out. He left it alone for a few months but after realizing it was still growing, he decided to put some fertilizer on it. He's done that three or four times in the past couple of years, but really, it doesn't need it anymore. It just keeps growing.
"I've had some people ask me, if the tree looks like it's starting to struggle, if I would take it out and plant it in the bed or in the ground. I think at that point, it kind of defeats the magic of the rocker tree," Al explained. "I'd like to see it grow in its current spot as long as possible, and if eventually it can't do it anymore and dies, as sad as that'd be, I think that's the way it's gotta be."
The Florida Strangler is an invasive plant anyway, and Al owns a farm. The last thing he wants is for it to latch onto one of his fruit trees. That's why it has to stick with the truck until one or the other dies.
Given how many holes the truck has due to rust, my money's on the tree.
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