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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone,

I’ve talked about my Ludwigia in a different thread (Please help identifying deficiency | Page 3 | The Planted Tank Forum), and just gave it a trim a few days ago. In the past, I’ve been pulling the plant, trimming each branch off, and replanting to create a more dense look. The plant has done well with this transition each time. Now that I feel like I have enough stems where I want them, in this most recent trim, I just trimmed the top on any that were growing much faster than the rest. The goal is to end up with a nicely shaped bush instead of a bunch of gangly, individual stems.

A couple of days after trimming, and all of the stems that got topped are struggling, and the leaves are turning brown. There are new, healthy buds forming at the place I cut (as expected), but the old growth isn’t looking too good. I’ve felt these brown leaves and they don’t feel like they’re melting or anything, and I've tried brushing them off (thinking GDA or Diatoms), so I have no idea what’s going on.

Is Ludwigia sp. Super Red one of the ones that you can only replant the tops? Will this rebound on its own?
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Not too experienced with ludwigia as i just picked up my first batch a month ago, but i come across this problem with my bacopa carolinia. i cut the tops and replant them when they get too long, and those grow in with the cuttings growing new stems. Ive just started noticing a lot of the leaves on the bottom of the stems are melting away, leaving a very skinny stem with some bushy plants at the top. The only thing i can think of is that these plants are just having normal die off as the new leaves come in, since the ones that are mainly doing this are the oldest and have been cut the most times (almost two years old, with maybe trimming them every 3 months or so). Also, if you still have new growth i would not worry either. You mentioned diatoms but if they arent growing anywhere else then i wouldnt think thats the cause. hope my info helps provide insight!
 

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Just give it time. The plant is using it's resources to develop the new healthy growth.

Whenever you just trim the tops off you will have an "ugly' period until the new growth really gets going.

And if the L. Super Red gets too bushy, the lower leaves will begin rotting and the bottom can become a twisted mess of old growth. At that point best to pull it all and thin it out.

All part of plant management and learning how different plants respond to different methods.
 

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To follow up on what Greggz said, once the bush looks how you want it to you can uproot it and trim the bottom half of the bunch then replant. That way you can let it grow out without being too dense to where it starts to hurt the lower leaves. It also pulls out a bunch of mulm which can be vacuumed away, a great way to get rid of some of those waste organics that can build up in the substrate over time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Just give it time. The plant is using it's resources to develop the new healthy growth.

Whenever you just trim the tops off you will have an "ugly' period until the new growth really gets going.

And if the L. Super Red gets too bushy, the lower leaves will begin rotting and the bottom can become a twisted mess of old growth. At that point best to pull it all and thin it out.

All part of plant management and learning how different plants respond to different methods.
That sounds reassuring. I know I’m working through some fert issues with this plant, but seeing it just look like it was dying had me worried. Just so I’m clear, these brown leaves don’t need to be plucked off, right? I always try to remove any dead or dying leaves, so I wanted to make sure I’m not leaving a rotting plant in the tank.
 

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That sounds reassuring. I know I’m working through some fert issues with this plant, but seeing it just look like it was dying had me worried. Just so I’m clear, these brown leaves don’t need to be plucked off, right? I always try to remove any dead or dying leaves, so I wanted to make sure I’m not leaving a rotting plant in the tank.
I'd let it go for awhile and let the new growth get established.

Then begin removing the dead/dying leaves.
 

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You can top stems only a finite number of times, some say 7, before the bottoms age out and die, so you have to replant the tops from time to time to rejuvenate. I am not aware of any stems you can mow perpetually as turf grass.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
You can top stems only a finite number of times, some say 7, before the bottoms age out and die, so you have to replant the tops from time to time to rejuvenate. I am not aware of any stems you can mow perpetually as turf grass.
This is the first time I've topped them. The tank has only been running a couple of months, and the first couple of times, I pulled them all, separated all of the individual stems, and replanted. Now that I think it's dense enough, I was starting to sculpt into the shape I wanted.
 

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Got those exact same plants and HACK them every other week. I'm getting a little better at the trimming but in my tank they grow aggressively and I have not had the patience for replanting them like you do. They bounce back very well, even from sloppy cutting (e.g. hack cutting through stem bunches, through leaves and all). The biggest problem I have with them is that they tend to bush. You may get 2-4 new branches where you cut. The leaves can look funky for a little bit but mine will grow out in a week.

I haven't figured out a quick way to keep those trimmed and red. For me they get very deep red toward the top of the plant, which is what I am cutting off. So I have beautiful red for a week or so, then it gets too long, then I chop it and it looks woody for a week or so until it grows out and gets red again. I'm experimenting with a few strands I let grow into a canopy. They can put shade in a place if you need it and look really nice from the top of the tank.

After trimmings like this I dose extra with Seachem's Advance, Pristine, Stability, Excel and Flourish. Advance and Flourish to help stimulate new growth, Pristine and Stability to help there be more bacteria to break down rotting plant tissue before algae can get it, and Excel as an anti-algae agent at that vulnerable time for the plants.
 

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I think your on the right path. I would agree whole heartedly with Greggz. Just let it go for a bit and wait until you have enough new growth out of the trimmed stem.

After a few trims, your bottoms will look really ratty, then you get the fun of "restarting the bush" by taking all your tops and replanting that, and tossing the bottoms. I just did the "restart" on 3 plant groups in my tank tonight. I found after you do a bush restart, the growth will be break neck lol.

Just keep doing what your doing, they are looking good.
 
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