Re: Aquatic Plants Digest V2 #511

Hi Everyone,

Peter Mohan was asking about growing turtle grass:

> I've talked to the folks at the Smithsonian lab over the years, and am
> the impression that turtle grass has been a tough nut to crack.  I
> they bring in entire sections of plant-bearing substrate into their
>  Sounds like there are some delicate relationships between the root
> and substrate.  I've not known anyone to be successful with bear root
> plantings.  Maybe someone out their has tried this and been successful(?)

This sound like there is a symbiotic relationship between bacteria in the
substrate and the turtle grass, similar to that which has evolved between
certain terresterial orchids and bacteria. When I was a teenager (back when
T. rex roamed the world), my mother maintained a wildflower garden. She
tried repeatedly to get wild Lady Slipper Orchids to grow but was never
successeful with bare root transplants. It was only after she manipulated
me into digging up a back-breaking clump of swamp and transplanting a large
amount of substrate with the plants that she was able to achieve success.
Without the bacteria in the substrate the orchids were unable to obtain the
proper nutrition. It is quite possible that turtle grass has the same
relationship with bacteria and might require the same sort of treatment for
successeful transplantation. Note that these bacteria are probably specific
to certain types of plant communities and wouldn't necessarily be present
in your tank without deliberate innoculation.

James Purchase
Toronto, Ontario
jpp at inforamp_net