I've come to the king of Dutch for some advice about trimming to make plants look nice.
I noticed in last year's Dutch tank your Myriophyllum "Guyana" was very vertical. When you plant it, are you taking each stem out, cutting it to size, then planting individually?
All this time I've been planting the "dense" plants in clumps of a few at a time but it just doesn't look that great. Rotalas, for example. I get them trimmed in to a nice shape, then the bare bottoms (they are a background plant so aren't in view) get too tall so I uproot and trim the bottoms, but then when I try to plant them the same way they came out the shape of the group just looks horrible and I have to spend a couple weeks trimming it in to shape, then it looks good for a week, then I start the whole dang cycle again.
Either you have the patience of a saint to keep all your plants so uniformly trimmed or I'm doing something wrong. Do you have any advice?
Haha, I feel your pain.. and so does every other hobbyist. The Myrio in the pic was probably for a contest tank, and yes those were all planted individually. Normally I'll do 2-3 at a time. Most fine leaf smaller stuff does fine planting in small bunches.
With that Rotala you'll just have to try a few different ways and see how it responds. The first round of new growth from rooted stumps is going to make the nicest shape bush. If they're in back you can cut them down to about mid ways of the tank height. Slope the stumps however you want the bush to be sloped. Thats a good way to manage smaller Rotala because it grows so fast. Too much work trying to use tops all the time, and you cant really get the same thick look
Here's Gratiola viscidula I was using for a contest couple years back. This is what I do with painstakingly small stuff that needs planting individually
Cut tops sorted by height
After <much saintly patience>
And....speaking of contest tanks, I finished up the Dutch yesterday, deadline is tomorrow. Results out Jan. It came out OK I think. I may have too many focal points, we'll see what the judges think. Here's a sneaky peeky