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Pruning: Less is More?

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by justin.sterling.scott, Mar 23, 2010.

  1. justin.sterling.scott

    justin.sterling.scott Prolific Poster

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    I have three tanks.

    Tank "A" is a ~60 gallon corner bow front. Tank "B" is a 29 gallon standard. Tank "C" is a 10 gallon standard. "A" and "B" are planted; "C" is on standby (bare glass and a heater). The planted tanks are non-CO2 low techs. "A" has 2W/gal of light from two dual compact fluorescent 6.7k/10k bulbs. "B" has a single tube inside the most basic hood light you can think of, putting it somewhere around the 1W/gal range. Maybe less.

    Tank "A" has about ten Cryptocoryne wendtii that lost their robust foliage over a year ago, likely due to total lack of dosing and general neglect. However, they all propagated at some point in time; and like all plants, they're survivors and will flourish once I get them back on track.

    And that brings me to the subject of this thread. I have noticed slow but steady growth of new leaves from the center of these plants. The existing leaves are in fair to poor shape, mostly due to algae and snail nibbles.

    May I snip off the old leaves to encourage new growth? I assume so, but how much? How much is too much? Should I go by (for lack of a term) a "one in, one out" rule?
    Should I cut them as close to the base as possible? I'd like some tips...

    If new growth is encouraged this way, will they demand more nutrients? As a non-CO2 tank I only dose once a week. I'm not aiming to make them grow faster. I only want them to grow in nicely. Their current rate of growth will be perfect. I just don't know if essentially eliminating a percentage of their photosynthetic mass will cause them to weaken, die back, or fail completely.

    Tank "A" also has a leggy Anubias barteri in the middle. It, too, is growing steady and slow. It, too, has unhealthy looking leaves. Should I treat them the same way?

    Tank "B" is similarly planted. It is half the size, so the amount of plants is alright for now. Tank "A" is sparsely planted, I know... I have some Echinodorus 'vesuvius' coming in the mail from a highly reputable source. I'm sure that will all but solve algae concerns if everything else is correct.

    Let me know what has worked for you and your plants, please. That will be super helpful.
     
    #1 justin.sterling.scott, Mar 23, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 23, 2010
  2. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi,

    If the leaf is clearly damaged and beyond regeneration, or is algae infested, I would cut it off. The plant has to deal with bad stems and leaves. Plus, may as well reduce the NH4 released by the dying leaves.....

    Growth rates are spurred more by light. c02, and nute levels....

    This will induce more branching on the Anubias and allow more room for daughter plants for the Wendti.

    If you trim to NO leaves, that may be too much :) But both will arise from nothing and are survivors for a reason.

    Hope this helps.
     
  3. shoggoth43

    shoggoth43 Lifetime Charter Member
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    I haven't kept any of what you have. However, I have absolutely butchered my swords before including dropping them in bleach and watched ALL of the leaves melt off. Still grew back. If you have more than one of any given type in there ( which you do ), consider one side to be more "expendable" and be a bit more aggressive in your pruning.

    All else fails, the one in one out approach should work well.

    -
    S
     
  4. jonny_ftm

    jonny_ftm Guru Class Expert

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    Trimming/pruning won't solve the algae issues. rather a balaned light/CO2 ratio, good dosing, cleaning organic detritus...

    Now, for the only question on how much is good: you can remove all leaves from swords and crypts, they'll always grow back, no fears on that point
     
  5. justin.sterling.scott

    justin.sterling.scott Prolific Poster

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    I'm not worried about algae. :p

    Any objections to just sticking your arm in the water and pinching the leaves at the base of the stem? Or, are scissors better?

    I've read that plants like a stable environment. Does that include moving them? Can I uproot and move them without causing them too much issue? Do I need to make sure every last root is buried in the substrate? Is it easier to replant in the gravel with one of those long handled gardening tools?

    Thanks :)
     
  6. shoggoth43

    shoggoth43 Lifetime Charter Member
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    Plants can tolerate some amount of moving. It happens often enough. You don't want to be moving them around constantly and damaging the roots and such. It is a source of stress so you should minimize it if possible. Most of the plants I have floating around I need to periodically pull up and "refloat". These are swords though so they may be more tolerant.

    -
    S
     
  7. jonny_ftm

    jonny_ftm Guru Class Expert

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    Most stems are uprooted, trimmed and retopped, no roots. I used to do this many times a week. It made me learn to stop bothering about it: I never saw a stem not growing back once retopped, except sometimes if the planted stem is too short. I also didn't notice any slowdown in growth speed, so don't worry about it
     
  8. justin.sterling.scott

    justin.sterling.scott Prolific Poster

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    And by "stems" you mean "stem plants"...? I don't have those, so I don't think that quite applies. However, I'll keep it in mind. Thank you.
     
  9. jonny_ftm

    jonny_ftm Guru Class Expert

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    Sorry, I read Stem instead of 2them" in your post :)

    let's say that moving crypts and swords sholdn't be done every week. But if you move them from time to time they won't bother. I moved some of my swords and crypts around the tank about every 1-3 months without any issues
     
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