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Aaron is right on the money with his answer there. Rotalas, hygros, ludwigias - basically any stem plant that produces side shoots readily can be hacked back. The more easily the plant produces side shoots, the better it will be suited for this type of pruning. .
Thanks Aaron and GG. Those were the replies i was looking for.

I am not a stem plant guy , and not a aquascaper per se, so my experience in this arena is somewhat limited. However, one new plant that i have recently fallen in love which does not seem to have the ratty bottom issue is is Rotala verticillaris. It seems to behave different than other Rotala in that it puts out side shoots -- from the substrate-- without top trimming. It also seems to grow at less than half the rate as R. macrandra. In the new Amazonia, the macrandra has required weekly trimming. In my 4-week old substrate, the R.verticillaris has not been trimmed once. I may finally do it next week, but i am still somewhate reluctant because i am really enjoying the new fine leaves that it did not have in my older lower light tank. There, it produced thicker leaves that resembled emersed growth. The new 24" deep tank is under 4 T5 HO Geismanns. The older 16" deep tank with mature sand/peat substrate was illuminated with 4 NO T-12 Triton bulbs. There are many other differences besides lighting and substrate which might explain the verticillaris. In that slower grow tank, the macrandra also grew relative fast and required frequent trimming. On the other hand,
I dont think i topped the R.v in the several months i kept it. When i took the tank down last month, the small number of starting R.v stems had multiplied maybe 10-fold.
Another plant that does not seem to develop many annoying lower stem roots is the asian "pearl grass." One that is among the worst that i have seen is Ludwigia repens.
--Neil
 

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Very informative thread Ghazanfar.

Couple quick questions for the forum. (I'm running into a couple of problems with excessive root development and requiring to trim on a weekly basis. I'm planning to do a little re-scaping. I've decrease the light interval)

1. When you plant the stems, do you plant them individually or in small groups of 2-3s to ensure the bushiness appearance?

2. How frequent do you decide to uproot the plants and replant with new cuttings to keep everything fresh?

Thanks.
 

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Thank you SO much for that sequential set of photos. This changes everything for me, until now I have not been able to figure out how you all get your tanks so full of bushy stem plants. I think I need to start working on different elevations of substrate as well. It's chop time!:D
 

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Thanks Aaron and GG. Those were the replies i was looking for.

I am not a stem plant guy , and not a aquascaper per se, so my experience in this arena is somewhat limited. However, one new plant that i have recently fallen in love which does not seem to have the ratty bottom issue is is Rotala verticillaris. It seems to behave different than other Rotala in that it puts out side shoots -- from the substrate-- without top trimming. It also seems to grow at less than half the rate as R. macrandra. In the new Amazonia, the macrandra has required weekly trimming. In my 4-week old substrate, the R.verticillaris has not been trimmed once. I may finally do it next week, but i am still somewhate reluctant because i am really enjoying the new fine leaves that it did not have in my older lower light tank. There, it produced thicker leaves that resembled emersed growth. The new 24" deep tank is under 4 T5 HO Geismanns. The older 16" deep tank with mature sand/peat substrate was illuminated with 4 NO T-12 Triton bulbs. There are many other differences besides lighting and substrate which might explain the verticillaris. In that slower grow tank, the macrandra also grew relative fast and required frequent trimming. On the other hand,
I dont think i topped the R.v in the several months i kept it. When i took the tank down last month, the small number of starting R.v stems had multiplied maybe 10-fold.
Another plant that does not seem to develop many annoying lower stem roots is the asian "pearl grass." One that is among the worst that i have seen is Ludwigia repens.
--Neil
In acquiring a picture of the flower of Rotala verticillaris it's been discovered (by Cavan of course) that it's not a Rotala at all, but rather a Pogostemon! That's likely the reason for the slower growth, though I've never had trouble using the hacking method on that particular stem. It has been shown to be quite variable in size and leaf shape from tank to tank within our club.
 

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In acquiring a picture of the flower of Rotala verticillaris it's been discovered (by Cavan of course) that it's not a Rotala at all, but rather a Pogostemon!
It doesnt surprise me that it is not a Rotala. The growth pattern is so different.

Does that mean there is another plant out there which is the true Rotala verticillaris, the type specimen for the genus? [ Linneaus described the type specimen for this genus, Rotala verticillaris, in 1771.]

Let see what is the lineage of the plant circulating thru the US hobby as Rotala verticillaris. I aquired mine from Ben Bolten several months ago. I believe he got his from GG. How far back can we go?
--Neil
 

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It doesnt surprise me that it is not a Rotala. The growth pattern is so different.

Does that mean there is another plant out there which is the true Rotala verticillaris, the type specimen for the genus? [ Linneaus described the type specimen for this genus, Rotala verticillaris, in 1771.]

Let see what is the lineage of the plant circulating thru the US hobby as Rotala verticillaris. I aquired mine from Ben Bolten several months ago. I believe he got his from GG. How far back can we go?
--Neil
It was introduced into the US hobby by a friend of mine in Hawaii who brought it back from Japan. He gave it to another friend of his in Hawaii and I bought a few stems from him last year sometime. I passed it to Ghazanfar and some others in the club and now it's everywhere. :)
 

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Blame Aaron for the Verticillaris, that's as far back as I know it, hehe.

Awesome plant, I'm debating using it in my 180g rescape, grows slow enough ot be controllable in there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
Thanks for this thread. It's very informative. I am somewhat amazed/confused by this last statement. I understand what your saying but, when I look at the last px of the trim you did, I can't imagine that the 3 or 4 previous trims were actually shorter than this one, in all the plant sections! Some of them are so short now, that if they had been trimmed 3 or 4 times, how would there have been any left to grow out!??

By your statement 3 or 4 nodes left you are referring to leaf groupings along the stem, is that correct?
True, the last pruning I did was more for shape than for bushiness and it was fairly short towards the front, but fairly tall in the back.

Yes - 3-4 nodes = 3-4 segments of the plant - where the leaves attach to the plant. Some plants can be hacked back further - but I left it at 3-4 segments in this thread since I don't want someone to go hack everything back to 1 node and kill everything off. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
V
1. When you plant the stems, do you plant them individually or in small groups of 2-3s to ensure the bushiness appearance?

2. How frequent do you decide to uproot the plants and replant with new cuttings to keep everything fresh?
Thicker stems like P. stellata / Ammania gracilis etc are planted individually. Thinner stems like Rotala sp. Can be planted in 2-3 stems per group.

How frequent to uproot - it varies on a per plant basis. Some are champs and bounce back everytime. Others get slower and slower bouncing back - eventually you need to uproot and replant (time for a new scape!)
 

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This thread has given me the audacity to trim!

I have a dumb question, here goes.....For stems that have big root balls, uprooting can be a big mess. Will cutting the old stems off at the substrate and replanting new stems over it work?
 

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The El Natural people do this all the time. They use it as a source of nutrition for the plants. I always worry because that will rot under there and bacteria will grow. You'll have a huge pocket for ammonia and sulfur gasses to form. I guess if you don't ever disturb that place until it is taken up by other plants you are fine. I know when I have had a bulb rot I have seen a bubble of the sulfur gas released from time to time. Wonder what others have to say?....
 

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This thread has given me the audacity to trim!

I have a dumb question, here goes.....For stems that have big root balls, uprooting can be a big mess. Will cutting the old stems off at the substrate and replanting new stems over it work?
Aside from the fact that the left over biomass will rot, there is the more practical problem of have a ball of roots under the gravel which will make replanting in that location difficult.

I always shut down the filter, pull out the stem and as much of the root ball as I can get. I shake out the gravel and replant. The mess in the water column settles and I vacuum out as much as I can get.

Plants like my Echinodorous kleiner bar can get so root bound that pulling it out of the substrate disturbs a huge area around the plant. The roots are entwined with the plants that grow around it. Everything gets pulled out and replanted as a result. A huge mess is created. But that's the way it is.
 

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The El Natural people do this all the time. They use it as a source of nutrition for the plants. I always worry because that will rot under there and bacteria will grow. ?....
Yes, bacteria will grow and it will be anaerobic ....and while it will eventually provide a source of nutrients, it is not the ideal environment for new plants as old stuff decomposes. Plants with large white roots, like Echinodorus can tolerate that environment because their sturdy roots will pump O2 creating a more favorable environment. However, it will likley be a larger struggle for many stem plants..., so getting the stuff out is best.

Regarding a large mass of root , you can try to lift out a small section at a time. I dont yank the entire plant all at once. This will usually create a mess. Instead, I get my fingers down in the substrate and try to pull up individual roots. This should leave behind the attached substrate particles and not make as much mess. Cavaet: I have done this with sand and fluorite and not with softer materials like ADA Aquasoil.
 

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Thanks Aaron and GG. Those were the replies i was looking for.

I am not a stem plant guy , and not a aquascaper per se, so my experience in this arena is somewhat limited. However, one new plant that i have recently fallen in love which does not seem to have the ratty bottom issue is is Rotala verticillaris. It seems to behave different than other Rotala in that it puts out side shoots -- from the substrate-- without top trimming. It also seems to grow at less than half the rate as R. macrandra. In the new Amazonia, the macrandra has required weekly trimming. In my 4-week old substrate, the R.verticillaris has not been trimmed once. I may finally do it next week, but i am still somewhate reluctant because i am really enjoying the new fine leaves that it did not have in my older lower light tank. There, it produced thicker leaves that resembled emersed growth. The new 24" deep tank is under 4 T5 HO Geismanns. The older 16" deep tank with mature sand/peat substrate was illuminated with 4 NO T-12 Triton bulbs. There are many other differences besides lighting and substrate which might explain the verticillaris. In that slower grow tank, the macrandra also grew relative fast and required frequent trimming. On the other hand,
I dont think i topped the R.v in the several months i kept it. When i took the tank down last month, the small number of starting R.v stems had multiplied maybe 10-fold.
Another plant that does not seem to develop many annoying lower stem roots is the asian "pearl grass." One that is among the worst that i have seen is Ludwigia repens.
--Neil
According to Cavan, Rotala verticillaris may not be a Rotala at all, but rather a Pogostemon! He is doing more research on it.
 

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When you do a big hack job like that, is it necessary to adjust the CO2, photoperiod and the ferts? After all by doing a big trim you substantially reduce the plant mass.

Regarding a large mass of root , you can try to lift out a small section at a time. I dont yank the entire plant all at once. This will usually create a mess. Instead, I get my fingers down in the substrate and try to pull up individual roots. This should leave behind the attached substrate particles and not make as much mess. Cavaet: I have done this with sand and fluorite and not with softer materials like ADA Aquasoil.
I found with Amazonia II when I yanked out a root ball from a Mirophyllium matogrossens I ended up with a huge dust could. Even with smaller stems like Rotala Vietnam I got a mini dust cloud. I think this is probably bec. Amazonia II disintegrates more easily. In contrast, with original Amazonia I have not had this happen.
 

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When you do a big hack job like that, is it necessary to adjust the CO2, photoperiod and the ferts? After all by doing a big trim you substantially reduce the plant mass.

I found with Amazonia II when I yanked out a root ball from a Mirophyllium matogrossens I ended up with a huge dust could. Even with smaller stems like Rotala Vietnam I got a mini dust cloud. I think this is probably bec. Amazonia II disintegrates more easily. In contrast, with original Amazonia I have not had this happen.
Just adjust the ferts down a little bit and you'll be fine. ADA's Green Gain seems to work well for helping them bounce back.
 

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I rarely post here and mostly lurk but just had to pop in to say thanks for the great thread. Its nice to see the trimming techniques and how it develops picture by picture.
 
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