Keeping foreground plants looking nice over time, how to trim, what to expect......

Tom Barr

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This is a simple method and the regrowth and labor are far better for foreground ground covers than the older uproot and replant the tops type of methods.

Amano has long shown folks how to do this carefully. But.....many do not see/look at these lessons I suppose. Like many hobbyists, we often just let the rug grow......and grow.........and like the bean stalk.........the rug pulls off or gets so large we no longer find it aesthetically pleasing.

Gloss is a classic weedy foreground plant. HC is as well. Care needs to be given when trimming it down.........but it's fairly easy to mow a good sized area fairly quick, then net up the left over leaves that float to the surface.

Prior to trimming:
Resizedoct21.jpg



A few minutes after the trim:
636103a9.jpg


1 Week later:
fb485657.jpg


New growth is tight, small and rapidly filling in.
This only took me maybe 5 min to trim and 2-3 min to net up the leaves.

Not a horrid tale of nightmarish intense trim sessions weekly...........
Curved scissors are nice to trim accurately, particularly for the smaller and more delicate species like HC. For well rooted foreground plants like Crypt(yes, you can mow these down, the root crowns will resprout) or Starougyne, larger utility type scissors work or fingers.

resizedtrimcards1.jpg


You can see how low I trim the foreground plants, this way they keep that nice low cover. I sell the tops etc........in 2-3 weeks, the new growth fills in and it's honestly not that much work/labor. I would never do this if I had to do the old dutch style of uprooting and replanting only the tops.
The tank also would not look nice or recover fast. Most of the time, I'd be waiting for the growth to fill back in, for the plants to send down roots etc.

This also reduces the mess made when trimming.

Hope this helps.
 

tjbuege

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Thanks, Tom. That was very informative. And the pictures helped alot. I never suspected you could mow crypts, but it makes sense. I've had my crypts die off in the past (i.e., lose all their leaves), only to regrow.
 
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csmith

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I would have never guessed it would be advisable to trim that low. I trim HC to about 1/2", and don't even consider a trim until it's 1-2" atleast. Looks like I've found the answer to the leggy growth.
 

ShadowMac

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Would you recommend the same for hair grass? I cut it down every few weeks and use a tube to suck out debris then as well. The E. parvula I have stays short, but cutting seems to encourage a thicker carpet.
 

Tom Barr

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Hair grass in particular I have mowed for many years, decades even. This keeps the grass nice and clean, moss, Riccia, Cladophora etc........detritus..........all this stuff gets in it. The belem type is greart since I do not even need to trim it for height..........I just lightly vacuum or use an electric rotary toothbrush to pull u any algae, moss etc.

This is a pic from AFA, a LFS in SF that also trims to the bone:

Glosslawnmowed.jpg


Mowed HC:
HChackedback80liters.jpg


2-4 weeks later:

HCpruning4weekslater.jpg

So it's not just myself etc, it's mostly ADA that is suggesting this method, and they do show these methods and others....a great deal, just folks tend to squabble over the other things and do not listen to what good advice they do offer on scaping and basic horticulture.

Bonsai folks are much more inclined to learn this and less to to squabble over which type of akadama to use:)
Aquarist? No way........haha.......
 

Tom Barr

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AFA stem plant tank and trimming:
1-2 months of pure neglect:

resized120907.jpg


In good form
resized70galADAwith1.5wgal.jpg


you just trim much like you would an outdoor hedge next to the house with sheers.

rotlalacut102107.jpg
 

ShadowMac

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these are helpful photos. thank you.

My hairgrass has tons of "crap" in it. xmas moss I cant get rid of, clado. It is tough to trim to the bone, but will try next time. Getting the angle in my poor dimensioned 37 is practice in gymnastics.

I actually plan to let my stems go like that AFA tank and trim them all at once. I'm struggling getting them all even when I trim at different times.
 

Tom Barr

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With HG beleme and the other fine foreground plants, best not to mix with Riccia, moss etc, other wise you'll end up having to pick them clean a lot.

Good thing is with trimming to the bone like this method suggest........you can get virtually all of the noxious stuff out of the hair grass etc.
Do this once every 2-4 months, this is not so bad.

If you try and pick it out in a thicket of grass? Impossible to keep up on.
 

Tom Barr

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deep blue;75567 said:
How do you trimm Utricularia griminifolia? Is technique same as for HC?

Yes, pretty much, I'd simply mow it like the AFA 120 p hairgrass tank above.
That's not belem, that's E. parvulus.
 

Tom Barr

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c55eacdf.jpg


1.5 weeks after the initial trim, not bad recover? 2 weeks you have almost full 100% recovery.
 

Tom Barr

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dutchy;75623 said:
With uprooting and replanting this takes around 3 to 4 weeks.

Yes, and lots more labor, mess and not as nice refill.
 

ShadowMac

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I did a major hacking down of my hairgrass this last weekend. Removed a ton of "junk" that had been hindering it from looking its best. I noticed I still have some bits of clado to pick out of the soil, but I think the regrowth will look much better.

I was wary of cutting it down too much before this thread. Thanks!
 

Rodney

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Is it safe to trim in the initial weeks after planting? For example, I have recently planted a grid of dwarf hairgrass. Some melt occured and there have been some debris getting caught up in the hairs. Am I safe to mow low before the carpet has formed?
 

ArnieArnie

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@ shadowmac: I am also battling cladophora. It really is a PITA. Had to throw away all of my HC because I kept pulling it out when removing the clado. Now I am making a foreground with Pogostemon H. from which it is easier to remove the clado. Hopefully there will soon be a solution to remove clado completely out of an aquarium chemically or not.
 

dutchy

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I trimmed the Glosso carpet down to the nub today. What used to take me all afternoon by uprooting and replanting now only took 45 minutes :) :) :)
 
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Tom Barr

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dutchy;75699 said:
I trimmed the Glosso carpet down to the nub today. What used to take me all afternoon by uprooting and replanting now only took 45 minutes :) :) :)

You and a few others in particular will really like this method. For hair grass, larger toothed omb works good after the trim to root out moss, algae etc,