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Invasive Plant control measures

All this talk about carpet plants got me thinking (do smell smoke yet?). As
they are nice and useful, they are also sometimes unruly and hard to control
but here are some ways to have a good orderly tank at least for awhile,
maybe longer or for a show, open house etc. 

The corral method.
One way is to use plastic pots the size you wish your group to be. Cut the
bottoms off the pots.
Sink into the gravel till there's only a small lip showing (or push it down
further till level with the gravel or slightly below if this is unsightly to
you). Simply trim around the pot until the group of plants is a nice clump
and good and bushy etc. Remove the pot after you have the size of plant
group you wish. You can only use what kinds of of pots you can find or bend
etc though.
 The other way is to use acetate plastic or any flexible thin sheet plastic
that will bend but not fall apart when pushed into the gravel. You can bend
this into about any shape with ease. A paper clip ( plastic or metal) can
hold the plastic together and you can undo it if you want the group to
change shape or get bigger etc. In this manner you can make any shape you
wish out of Lilaeopsis, Dwarf clover, Har grass, Pearl grasses, Glossostigma
etc. Once they have gotten dense remove the plastic and trim just around the
edges. This prevents them from running all over the tank when all you wanted
was a small dense patch in one corner etc.
That wide hoe like gravel leveler that Amano uses works well for stopping
those submerged runners from getting away too. All different sized wide
levelers can be bought as putty knifes and paint scrapers at the Local
hardware store. You use these to cut down into the gravel to chop off any
runner stems below or above the gravel. I cut out nice square sod pieces
from my hargrass plot about 3" x 3" and take it down to the local store.
They are good for snipping the deep crypt runners without uprooting things
too beside the plant you want to remove.
This can be used to cut a "growing line" down into the gravel to prevent the
plants from invading the other areas. A *sharp* putty knife is the best for
this. Also works well for gravel leveling and pushing the gravel away from
the front of the glass.  

If you cut the growing tips of many carpet plants they don't grow as well as
if you corralled them like this. This will allow better denser growth and
more ordered clumps till you have it were you want it. It keeps those
growing tips healthy and WHERE you want them.
Tom Barr