How to make nice smooth hillside groupings of stem plants

Tom Barr

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Jan 23, 2005
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Amano has long tried to advocate trimming skills, as have most in Japanese gardening, bonsai etc. I think many aquatics are rather timid with their aquatic plants while the hedge outside they break out the serious trimmers!

But the reality is that we can trim these plants the same way.

Before:

rotlalacut102107.jpg


After:

Rotlala102107.jpg


It does take a few weeks, maybe 2-4 to grow in nicely, but it's much like shaping and trimming hedges which can take months before they no longer look ratty.

Still, plants grow back in really fast if you keep good CO2/nutrients.

Here's some HC trimmed to the bone:

HChackedback80liters.jpg


And after 4-5 weeks:
redone70micromollight.jpg


You do not have to uproot etc, just trim with scissors well. Take the time to do it slowly and do a good job.

This will help your scaping and reduce some labor.
As you learn to predict the growth patterns and rates, you can scape very effectively.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

detlef

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Jan 24, 2005
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The longer the aquarist waits till he prunes the rattier the plant will look after trimming. Amano always advises to cut as soon as the plant reaches the surface.
I think that's a nice one since it avoids both too much shadow and the slowing of current .

Also, if you cut to the "bone" it'll take much longer for the plant to recover vs. having two or three inches left in place. Both of which again take much longer
to resume growth than simply replanting the tops (which makes a lot more work of course). So it's a balance not to trim too late and/or too far down.
For pickier plants it seems much better though to always replant the tops only.

If the plant is in bad shape for whatever reason or has stopped growing completely it's not a wise idea to trim at all. I'd rather wait until it starts growing
again meanwhile trying to fix the problem.

Have not been uprooting plants for years! If I swap over to another species I leave the old roots in place and plant right there. Never had a problem.
Well, did not try that with Echinodorus or big Crypt stands though.

Regards,
Detlef
 

dantra

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Tom, great post about trimming HC. I’ve often wondered how one keeps HC from looking like a thick sort of spongy mat. It’s good to know that one can trim HC like that and not worry about it dying out.



Dan
 

Tom Barr

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As long as it's still got some roots left, it'll regow much fast than a stem without roots.

The microflora is also stabilized, so you can avoid a water change due to the dirt pulled up vs just topping.

Basically, mixing both prune methods allows you to get away with less labor/work.
This works best with less, rather than more light.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

dealt

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Sep 25, 2007
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Hi! Just wondering if the 'trim-to-the-bones' trick you made in HC will also work for glosso carpet. I usually uproot the thick carpet when the lower layer starts to rut and replant them, way too troublesome if you ask me. Thanks!