Bonsai is a centuries-old art form that involves shaping trees and shrubs into miniature versions of their full-size counterparts. One of the key tools used in bonsai is wire, which helps shape the plant into the desired shape. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at how to form bonsai with wire. Readers will learn about the different types of wire available for bonsai, as well as some tips and tricks for using it effectively.
Wire overlay time
You can wire trees all year round. But during the growing season, the branches grow thicker quickly. So if you leave the wire on too long, it will cut into the tree’s bark. You should check your tree regularly and remove the wire when necessary.
When choosing wire for your bonsai, it is important to pick the right type. There are two common types of wire: anodized aluminum and annealed copper. Anodized aluminum wire is easier to use and can be found in most bonsai shops. The thickness of the wire is measured in millimeters, from 1 to 8 mm. It is not necessary to buy wire in all different sizes. You will only need a wire with a cross-section of 1mm, 1.5mm, and 2.5mm. If you are winding thick branches, it is recommended to wrap them with raffia first. It will protect the bark from being damaged during bending.
Annealed copper wire is more expensive but will not damage the tree’s bark. It can be found in some bonsai shops, as well as online. The thickness of annealed copper wire is also measured in millimeters, but it is available in a much more comprehensive range of sizes, from 0.4 to 10 mm.
How to wire a bonsai tree
Wiring a bonsai tree is not complex, but it does take some practice. Start by wrapping the wire around the trunk or branch, leaving about 10 cm (4 inches) of wire at the end. Then, wrap the wire around the branch several times, ensuring each turn is close to the previous one. To finish, twist the wire around to secure it and cut off the excess wire.
When wiring a bonsai tree, it is important to start with the trunk or branch, leaving about 10 cm (4 inches) of wire at the end. Then, wrap the wire around the branch several times, ensuring each turn is close to the previous one. To finish, twist the wire around to secure it and cut off the excess wire with circlip pliers or side cutters.
Winding two bonsai branches at once
First, select a few branches you want to wrap with wire. They should be the same thickness and located close to each other. Remember that you must first secure the wire by making at least one turn around the trunk (preferably two turns), so the wire does not move when the branches are subsequently bent.
Now cut a piece of wire of the required length to wind both branches.
Wrap the wire around the trunk, and then move on to wrapping the first branch. Wrap the branch with wire from its base to the end before moving on to another branch. The wire should be wound around the branch at an angle of 45 degrees. Then the branch can continue to grow in thickness, maintaining a given shape.
If you intend to bend the branch down, wind the wire around the trunk below the branch first. Conversely, the wire must first be wound on the section of the trunk above the branch if it will be bent upwards.
After completing the wire wrapping of all suitable pairs of branches, continue wrapping the remaining branches, each with a separate piece of wire.
Bending wire-wrapped branches
After wrapping the whole tree with wire, you can start to bend the branches and change their position. Hold the base and tip of the branch with both hands and bend it by resting your thumbs on the fold point. It will reduce the risk of it splitting. When the branch is in the proper position, leave it alone, as bending it in the same place multiple times will most likely damage it. Try to slightly bend the straight sections of the branches so that they look more natural.
If the wire is too tight and you can’t bend the branch, try to loosen it a bit. If the wire is too loose and the branch does not hold its shape, you will need to replace it with a new one.
You should put the tree in the shade and fertilize it as usual. Then, carefully inspect the tree during growth and remove the wire before it cuts into the bark. Do not try to unwind the wire, as this may damage the bark. Instead, cut the wire with special wire cutters or circlip pliers at each place where it turns, and then it will be much easier to remove.