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This week's topic comes in a little late this week but should be back on track by next week. Since only the weekend is left, this topic will be short and sweet. :)

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Dutch streets have been used for a long, long time in Dutch aquascaping. Basically, it involves pruning stem plants into a tier from shortest in the front to tallest in the back. Using Alternanthera reineckii as an example, take the stem you want to place in the back (the tallest). Take the next stem and cut the bottom so that it is at least 1-2 inches shorter than the first. Take a third stem and cut the bottom so it is at least 1-2 inches shorter than the second. Repeat until you have enough to form a row. Plant them in the order tallest in the back to shortest in the front.



Another strategy used in Dutch aquascaping is to form triangles. Taking Hygrophila difformis as an example, once again take your tallest stem as a reference. Cut the next 2-3 stems 2 inches shorter than the first. Then, take the next 3-4 stems and cut the bottoms off so that they are 2 inches shorter than the second. Repeat until you are satisfied with the mass you have. Plant them in the order of tallest in the back to shortest in the front.



To ease maintenance, people doing Dutch style layouts usually use slower growing stem plants such as Saururus cernuus and Lobelia cardinalis 'small form'. They also use lower amounts of light than most people in the US (~1.7-2.3 wpg)

Here is an example of a tank using Dutch streets extensively. Notice the carefully pruned tier of flaming red Alternanthera reineckii and Hygrophila corymbosa v siamensis (giant hygro). You can also see a Dutch street of Lobelia cardinalis starting in front of the Limnophila aquatica (giant ambulia) and sweeping toward the back in between the L. aquatica and H. corymbosa v siamensis:



Discussion question #1:
Why do the Dutch employ this pruning method? What does it add to an aquascape?

Carlos
 

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I think they do it to add depth to the overall design. The streets help draw the eye into the aquascape and are a good contrast for the other geometric plantings.

Best,
Phil
 

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I think it really makes each plant stand out more also. When you have a grouping like that with a lot of plants laid out it really makes a good angle for viewing each plant, plus they all come together to form a wonderful picture :)
 
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