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Trimming Plants

> The stem plants will always need to be trimmed, that's just the way they
> grow.  The best way to trim them is to cut back the stems just above a
> branch 1/3 -1/2 of the way to the top.  Don't cut too many at once, or
> plant will look like is got a crew-cut!  The plant should branch and
> fuller with this type of trimming.

Currently I'm deep into the learning-curve on trimming different types of
plants and seem to be getting better at it. I've killed off a few by
trimming to much in the early days. I've found that it looks better (at
least in my tank) to trim a little lower in the front of the bunch and trim
a bit higher in the back. I'm also "sculpting" a stem of my Mexican Oak
with an old terestrial (sp) trick of topping after each second node to get
a bush. Since it grows so fast, the resuts are quicker to see. So far, it
seems a little stunted, but has bigger leaves and is not as "leggy" as it's
taller partners. I haven't experimented with my other stem plants yet so I
dont know if clipping that often would be too stressfull on the plants.

>  If you must limit the growth of big
> rosette plants (like Echinodorus) you might want to try decreasing the
> amount of light and CO2 available to the plants.   If your lighting
> arrangement precludes the possibility of removing a bulb, you can reduce
> the photoperiod instead.

I tried limiting the photoperiod but got a large-scale attack of red algae
(maybe I went too far, but...). May or may not have a coincidence, but
since I am at a happy medium with algae growth, I'd rather not change the
tank. I'm willing (and eager) to do the work. I think it's far better to
have to trim taller and/or larger plants than having to buy replacements
for dead plants. :)

I DID have a problem with my Amazon Sword (Echinodurus paniculatus) always
wanting to flatten out but a few stem plants near it has solved that one.


> Karen Randall
> Aquatic Gardeners Association