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Annoying roots

On my stem plants, roots shoot off from the sides all up and down the stem. 
This is annoying on plants like the Ludwigias and A. reineckii, but an hour 
with my arms in the tank seems to take care of it. But now I have some 
"frill" (gren frill, red frill, and plan-old-frill) which I bought at the 
GSeattleAS auction a week or two ago, and the roots are a problem because I 
can't pull them off without getting alot of frill with them.

Am I doing something wrong? Someone once suggested that this might be caused 
by a nitrate deficiency, is this true? Any suugestions for how to get the 
roots off the frill?

And is there anyone from GSAS who knows what my frills really are?

-Rachel, looking forward to more plants at the GSAS auction this week.

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