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Re: Pruning


> From: Roxanne Bittman <rbittman at kirk_dfg.ca.gov>
> Subject: trimming techniques
> Several people have asked a similar question to the following, but, as far 
> as I have read, noone has (dared?) to answer it.

It has been asked and answered before, but is just not a topic that
seems to be discussed too much on the APD.

> ...which is best?:
>            1.  Pull out individual stem; cut a new length; discard 
> root-bearing part; replant top part.  This will result in disturbing 
> substrate and is a lot of work.
>            2.  Hair cut method:  take scissors and cut midway down stem and 
> allow to regrow.  Plants will become bushy from cut-point this way.
>            3.  Cut stem near base; leave rooted part in substrate and 
> replant cut stem.  This sounds good in theory, but with the mass of roots 
> at the base of the plants, it is not that practical to replant the cut 
> stems.  Also, over time, this will result in a much denser stand of the 
> plant since the cut, rooted part will regrow.

The best method is a combination of the above techniques to achieve the
look you are after.  For example, if you want to bush out an area, you
would cut off the tops and let the side nodes of your stem plants grow. 
If you want to keep a tall lean stand in a corner or something, you
would uproot them and cut off the bottoms (preventing the side shoots
from being stimulated to grow).  It all depends on what you are trying
to accomplish.

Unfortunately, because we are accelerating the growth of our plants in
small/limited space, some of these pruning techniques are a bit more
invasive than we would like.  I think it is something that just is a
part of it.

I agree with you that there is not a lot out there on trimming/pruning
aquatic plants.  I believe this is because the procedures are quite
simple, but the technique is really artistic.  Some people have the
knack, others don't, and some need to develop it.  This kind of learning
is generally best taught by modeling, or learning from an artist (and
not read from print).

The biggest thing I have learned is that pruning takes a lot of time...
more so than a waterchange.  I could be pruning a bit here or there
every day if I had the time and energy.  If you've got questions, email


pearlsco at u_washington.edu
The more people I meet, the more I like my plants.