Groucho the tree…

Groucho is an indoor tree. In fact, he’s a Ficus…a very touchy Ficus. We knew he was sensitive from the moment we got him and we’ve been babying him ever since. When we moved, he moved ahead of time and spent time in the house and get acclimatized before the chaos started. Since then, he’s been in one spot, not moving because Ficus trees will drop their leaves if you move them across a room. Ours, Groucho, will drop his leaves if you so much as look at him the wrong way. Touchy.

So, it was with great horror that I saw he had worms. Big, fat, brown things that crawled over and around the top of his pot. I stirred the earth only to discover that these worms had friends…numerous friends.

We searched for a gentle worm-killer. One that wouldn’t hurt our sensitive tree (or our doggie) but strong enough to hurt the worms. We paid a ridiculous amount of money for the stuff and added it in to the dirt as per the instructions.

A week later, and the worms not only hadn’t diminished, they appeared to have multiplied. Back to the Green house we went and got something less delicate. Another week later and, while Groucho remained the same, the worms had tripled. They were so numerous some were crawling out of the pot and trekking across our floor in search of fresh pastures.

When I almost stepped on one, I reached my breaking point and told my hubby to throw the tree out. He told me not worry and said he’d ‘fix’ it. A day later, Groucho was back in our living room with new soil and a few less leaves. There wasn’t a worm in sight.

I was mystified. Yes, I was also delighted but I was mystified. What had he done?

Turns out my resourceful husband had taken Groucho, the ever sensitive tree, yanked it free of its pot, then dunked it in the frozen river that runs through our property to loosen the dirt. Once that was accomplished, he had grabbed it by its trunk and repeatedly smacked the roots against the snow-covered driveway to get rid of any remaining worms. Finally, he had emptied the pot, cleaned it, added fresh earth and repotted the stunned Groucho.

I heard this horror tale and I braced myself to see the tree die. But, the shocker was that, three weeks later, Groucho stood proudly in our living room, not a leaf out of place.

“I don’t know why you’re shocked,” my husband told me. “My careful treatment saved that tree.”

Mr. Green Thumb.



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