can one control plant size by restricting root growth?
Planted Tank Forums
Your Tanks Image Hosting *Tank Tracker * Plant Profiles Fish Profiles Planted Tank Guide Photo Gallery Articles

Go Back   The Planted Tank Forum > Specific Aspects of a Planted Tank > Plants


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 09-01-2012, 03:36 AM   #1
keithy
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
PTrader: (10/100%)
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Marietta, GA
Posts: 864
Default

can one control plant size by restricting root growth?


Just wondering have anyone tried to restrict the roots of larger plants, (e.g. anazon sword) so that they become stunted/dwarf/smaller in size, kind of like the bonsai concept?
__________________
Proud 39th Member of the RAOK club!
keithy is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 09-01-2012, 03:52 AM   #2
Knotyoureality
Wannabe Guru
 
Knotyoureality's Avatar
 
PTrader: (3/100%)
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Mesa, AZ
Posts: 1,078
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by keithy View Post
Just wondering have anyone tried to restrict the roots of larger plants, (e.g. anazon sword) so that they become stunted/dwarf/smaller in size, kind of like the bonsai concept?
They won't experience the same degree of stunting as you can get with bonsai, but you can definitely keep them under control with root pruning and regular leaf trimming.

One of my first plants was a runner off a monster sword with leaves 18" long and a good 2 1/2" wide. It had three mature leaves about 6" long and two new leaves just coming in when I planted it in my tiny 10g. I trimmed 50% of the root mass and took off one of the mature leaves--then removed the other two once I had a couple new leaves showing to replace them a couple weeks later.

From then on, I would snip off any leaf that started getting too large for the space and root prune every three to four months. Between restricting it's ability to gather nutrients and forcing it to constantly put it's energy into growing new roots and leaves, the leaves that did grow never attained anywhere near their full potential--but it required regularly monthly care to maintain. My swords are now in fluorite instead of polished gravel so I can't uproot them to root prune, so instead I tease up some of the roots from all around the plant starting about an inch or so out from the base and prune from there.
Knotyoureality is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-01-2012, 01:32 PM   #3
keithy
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
PTrader: (10/100%)
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Marietta, GA
Posts: 864
Default

ok, thanks for the info.
__________________
Proud 39th Member of the RAOK club!
keithy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-01-2012, 05:44 PM   #4
plantbrain
Planted Tank Guru
 
plantbrain's Avatar
 
PTrader: (256/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: The swamp
Posts: 13,369
Default

This does not work with aquatic plants, they can meet their nutrition from the water column.

So basically you either limit the nutrients(sediment and or water column), or you do not, constricting the space will do little.

Bonsai trees have nowhere else to get nutrients. Aquatic plants do.
__________________
Regards,
Tom Barr
plantbrain is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-01-2012, 08:06 PM   #5
keithy
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
PTrader: (10/100%)
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Marietta, GA
Posts: 864
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by plantbrain View Post
This does not work with aquatic plants, they can meet their nutrition from the water column.

So basically you either limit the nutrients(sediment and or water column), or you do not, constricting the space will do little.

Bonsai trees have nowhere else to get nutrients. Aquatic plants do.
Thanks. I was thinking that I can have an amazon sword that is small enough for my tank by restricting the root growth. Guess that will not work. Thanks tom.
__________________
Proud 39th Member of the RAOK club!
keithy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-02-2012, 04:03 AM   #6
RLee
Algae Grower
 
RLee's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Ladera Ranch, CA.
Posts: 118
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Knotyoureality View Post
They won't experience the same degree of stunting as you can get with bonsai, but you can definitely keep them under control with root pruning and regular leaf trimming.

One of my first plants was a runner off a monster sword with leaves 18" long and a good 2 1/2" wide. It had three mature leaves about 6" long and two new leaves just coming in when I planted it in my tiny 10g. I trimmed 50% of the root mass and took off one of the mature leaves--then removed the other two once I had a couple new leaves showing to replace them a couple weeks later.

From then on, I would snip off any leaf that started getting too large for the space and root prune every three to four months. Between restricting it's ability to gather nutrients and forcing it to constantly put it's energy into growing new roots and leaves, the leaves that did grow never attained anywhere near their full potential--but it required regularly monthly care to maintain. My swords are now in fluorite instead of polished gravel so I can't uproot them to root prune, so instead I tease up some of the roots from all around the plant starting about an inch or so out from the base and prune from there.
Well Tom it looks like you can control the growth to some extent. I have a have performed a similar method in one of my smaller tanks with good success. If you keep up with the old growth and the roots you can control the size of the pant. Tom have you even tried this method?
__________________
Sun Sun pimp #8
model #303B
Eheim 2236
RLee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-02-2012, 05:01 AM   #7
OVT
Carpe Diem
 
OVT's Avatar
 
PTrader: (142/100%)
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: SF East Bay Area
Posts: 5,183
Default

It's doable. We had some discussions on the subject in this thread I started a while back. Almost a year later, the plants in that thread are still <5".

Even though Tom is correct, there might be several other reasons for the large plants staying small: more effort goes into re-growing roots and/or the available space restriction.

I did a totally non-scientific experiment with a red tiger lotus:
  • Planted a tiny baby and way over-planted around it with HM, R. Indica, H. corymbosa and such. The red tiger lotus stayed <4" for about 6 months, apparently healthy and producing ~1-2 small stems a month.
  • Cleared the space around that lotus substantially. It pretty much exploded in size, with many leaves going for the surface. Kept it big for about 3 months.
  • Again over-planted around it, trimmed it down to 2-3 small leaves. It's now been back to <4" for the last 6 months.
I would LOVE to get more opinions and ideas on the subject.

That's the lotus in question (you can see the sword also) pic taken about 1 year ago. I'll take a pic what it looks like today for comparison. The sword grew a lot more leaves but is still ~5" in height.:

__________________
Courtesy * Integrity * Perseverance * Indominable Spirit * and Self Control
Tenets of TKD

Last edited by OVT; 09-02-2012 at 05:05 AM.. Reason: added picture
OVT is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-02-2012, 01:20 PM   #8
keithy
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
PTrader: (10/100%)
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Marietta, GA
Posts: 864
Default

OVT,
interesting thing you tried there. Your thread kicks up my hopes again to have an amazon sword in my smaller tank(20 gal) that I took down months ago. I am no bonsai expert so am trying to find out myself what are the conditions that would make a bonsai. I was thinking of using the planters to limit the space.

Would also like some input from bonsai ppl? hopefully someone will notice this......
__________________
Proud 39th Member of the RAOK club!
keithy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-02-2012, 02:01 PM   #9
Knotyoureality
Wannabe Guru
 
Knotyoureality's Avatar
 
PTrader: (3/100%)
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Mesa, AZ
Posts: 1,078
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by keithy View Post
OVT,
interesting thing you tried there. Your thread kicks up my hopes again to have an amazon sword in my smaller tank(20 gal) that I took down months ago. I am no bonsai expert so am trying to find out myself what are the conditions that would make a bonsai. I was thinking of using the planters to limit the space.

Would also like some input from bonsai ppl? hopefully someone will notice this......
Bonsai (yes, I've created and kept my own) works on the principle of limiting the tree's ability to gather nutrients by reducing leaf and root mass and strictly controlling the available soil content. A tree doesn't *start* in that tiny little pot, btw, it gets there gradually. And here's where a difference starts for aquatic plants. In a planted tank--especially one with fish and inverts--there's a constant influx of nutrients to the substrate as water circulates and debris accumulates. However, with rooted plants such as swords, the principal of root and leaf reduction still applies---forcing the plant to expend the majority of it's energy in growing new roots and leaves while restricting it's ability to gather nutrients (the former more than the latter).

Bonsai trees, even after they've been trained down to the small sized containers that most people associate them with, still receive periodic root pruning.

I've kept standard amazon swords in 20g ,10g, and even 2.5g tanks using this method to restrict their growth for years at a time.
Knotyoureality is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-02-2012, 02:31 PM   #10
keithy
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
PTrader: (10/100%)
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Marietta, GA
Posts: 864
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Knotyoureality View Post
Bonsai (yes, I've created and kept my own) works on the principle of limiting the tree's ability to gather nutrients by reducing leaf and root mass and strictly controlling the available soil content. A tree doesn't *start* in that tiny little pot, btw, it gets there gradually. And here's where a difference starts for aquatic plants. In a planted tank--especially one with fish and inverts--there's a constant influx of nutrients to the substrate as water circulates and debris accumulates. However, with rooted plants such as swords, the principal of root and leaf reduction still applies---forcing the plant to expend the majority of it's energy in growing new roots and leaves while restricting it's ability to gather nutrients (the former more than the latter).

Bonsai trees, even after they've been trained down to the small sized containers that most people associate them with, still receive periodic root pruning.

I've kept standard amazon swords in 20g ,10g, and even 2.5g tanks using this method to restrict their growth for years at a time.
ok, now you got me really curious. Can you show me some pics of the amazon plant you speak of. You also mention the limitation of growth "to a certain degree". Do you mean both vertical and horizontal growth of just horizontal/vertical? It would be nice to have a scaled version of the actually big amazon, like a dwarf/small form. Not just in one dimension.
__________________
Proud 39th Member of the RAOK club!
keithy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-02-2012, 08:46 PM   #11
plantbrain
Planted Tank Guru
 
plantbrain's Avatar
 
PTrader: (256/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: The swamp
Posts: 13,369
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by RLee View Post
Well Tom it looks like you can control the growth to some extent. I have a have performed a similar method in one of my smaller tanks with good success. If you keep up with the old growth and the roots you can control the size of the pant. Tom have you even tried this method?
Yup, I have.

I have also cut off all the roots and the plant had the exact same rate of growth.

Academic support:

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/1...802.x/abstract

If you do not even have any roots.........well.......the size difference in the container is not going to matter.

But if you limit the overall nutrients in the water column, only then......can you get some effect.

You MUST limit both locations, not just one. So it could work if your water column is very very lean.

As Knotyourreality suggest, you can trim the outer leaves and keey the weed from getting too large, I'd suggest switching to crypts which are smaller and have the same similar shape.
__________________
Regards,
Tom Barr
plantbrain is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-02-2012, 11:45 PM   #12
keithy
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
PTrader: (10/100%)
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Marietta, GA
Posts: 864
Default

Should be pretty good article. I got to read it to be convinced. Thanks for the reference.
__________________
Proud 39th Member of the RAOK club!
keithy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-03-2012, 03:12 PM   #13
ADJAquariums
Wannabe Guru
 
ADJAquariums's Avatar
 
PTrader: (3/100%)
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Albany, New York
Posts: 1,419
Default

Isnt there a smaller variety of amazon swords? Or atleast swords in general?
__________________

Then I saw it. I saw a mom who would die for her son. A man who would kill for his wife. A boy, angry and alone. Laid out in front of him, the bad path. I saw it. And the path was a circle. Round and round. So I changed it.
-Joe (Looper 2012)
ADJAquariums is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-04-2012, 12:39 PM   #14
Indian fern
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
Indian fern's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Philippines, Manila
Posts: 544
Default

Echinodorus tenellus is the smallest. :3
Ive kept dwarfed amzons in low light low tech ten gal. It grows pretty slow too.
Indian fern is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 09-05-2012, 05:50 AM   #15
OVT
Carpe Diem
 
OVT's Avatar
 
PTrader: (142/100%)
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: SF East Bay Area
Posts: 5,183
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by ADJAquariums View Post
Isnt there a smaller variety of amazon swords? Or atleast swords in general?
Parviflorus parviflorus 'Tropica' (Rosette Sword) seems to max at 8" x 8", usually wider then taller. A nice looking sword imho.
OVT is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 12:16 PM.


Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright Planted Tank LLC 2012