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not damaging the roots
I think there are certain plants that do suffer a set back in growth
whenever they are replanted. It takes them several weeks before they are
able to grow enough root hairs to replace those lost when uprooting and
during this time, the plant is not getting as many nutrients as it might
otherwise from the substrate.
Fast growing plants can feed through the leaves especially if there is
chelated Fe in the water however, I suspect that there are plants which
are affected to varying degrees by the transplant.
I would expect to see a mild to severe impact on Crypts after
transplanting depending upon the species. Some may just melt and take
months before they regain their former size and vigor.
Others like lace plants, Aponogetons and Barclaya may suffer to such an
extent that they do NOT recover and can die. Many Aponogetons are heavy
root feeders and barely survive the move from the nursery where they
were grown, through the LFS (where they are getting no nutrients at
all), to your home aquarium. Adding fertilizer near the roots of lace
plants during transplanting, may only compound problems since it could
burn the roots by osmotic burn (what's the right term?). Probably best
to follow the advice of Richard Sexton on lace plants as far as
planting. He uses a manure substrate covered by 4" of gravel. That means
plenty of nutrients but not an extreme concentration in the root zone. I
believe I have read that these plants grow naturally in streams and a
sandy bottom might be a normal condition albiet with extensive roots.
OTOH, if you're planting a stem plant, you probably don't need to be
concerned about the roots at all. They aren't reliant upon them to
survive the shock of transplanting.
How different aquatic plants are from their slow growing terrestrial
cousins, that we can be so blase when planting!
Wouldn't it be nice, if we could buy lace plants and other delicate
plants, already growing in nice little ceramic pots with a generous
supply of the right nutrients to last for a year or so?!! Come on you
Steve Pushak Vancouver, BC, CANADA
Visit "Steve's Aquatic Page" http://home.infinet.net/teban/
for LOTS of pics, tips and links for aquatic gardening!!!