What causes a stem to branch off? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-25-2012, 10:24 AM Thread Starter
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What causes a stem to branch off?

It seems like so many of the nice tanks I see have single stem plants from substrate to surface, but mine love to branch all over the place.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-25-2012, 11:48 AM
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They will branch in my experience when
A. Cut
B. When flow is causing them to grow at an angle, they will branch to grow in a more upward fashion
C. When a lot of light is present so that plants have to grow less up and can grow more out

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-25-2012, 12:00 PM
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You could try laying the stem down hoizontally and letting it grow.

(google words meristem, apical meristem, axillary meristem.)
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-25-2012, 03:11 PM
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You can also just nip off the new branches before they have a chance to get really big. I kept several stems of r. mac that way because I didn't want them to branch.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-25-2012, 10:55 PM
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Add bright, spotlights on tank sides
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-26-2012, 10:42 PM
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What quite a few people do in their show tanks (at least some people I know) is place the trimmings back in the substrate so they will grow straight (kinda going off what BruceF said) because the apical meristem is still intact.

The apical meristem, or the main shoot, releases auxin, which is a plant hormone that prevents lower shoots from breaking and sending out new shoots/stems. When the apical meristem is removed, no auxin is being produced/released, which allows for the plant to send out branching shoots. This only occurs if the "apical dominance" is complete i.e. one meristem inhibits the formation of others. If the plant is exhibiting an "incomplete dominance," (only partial inhibition of side shoot formation), then you'll get some side shoots to form.

You could trim off the branched portions of the plant and hope that the plant remains straight, but that doesn't always happen: I always kept getting branching with my ludwigia, so I just let it grow out and become really dense.
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