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             23 October, 2019
 

    
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A Look at Bonsai Wiring Basics

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2009-09-13 02:54:26     
Article by Pat Lowe

Many bonsai trees get their elegant shape through a process called bonsai wiring that involves wrapping aluminum or copper wiring from the tree's base and around the branches. Through wrapping the branches and trunk with a length of wire in just the right thickness, the basic style of bonsais is created. The formal upright style needs no wrapping; however the cascade style requires many months of extensive training.

You should be very careful when you are applying wire to the trunk or branches of a tree due to the stress it causes. Doing it the wrong way can mean, if worse comes to worst, a dead tree, or more often a cracked branch. When bonsai wiring, you can also wrap it too forcefully or even at the wrong time of year. This will cause damage from scarring that could take a long time to heal, or it could even kill the tree.

You should give yourself some bonsai wiring practice sessions using something like a plain wooden pole before actually working on your tree. You will get experience holding the branch while simultaneously wrapping from doing this. When you feel like you've gotten the entire procedure mastered through your practice sessions, and you aren't moving anything that you shouldn't be, then you can try the same with the bonsai tree.

Step one is choosing the appropriate wire for the project. The two most common are aluminum and copper, but copper is more attractive over the training process. When wrapping your tree, don't ever use steel, only annealed copper wire due to potential toxicity to certain species. Aluminum is a lot more flexible, so it is easier to use for someone who is new at this kind of project. Though copper is stiffer, it may scar the tree if it isn't applied correctly. A good place to start is by choosing wire that is around 1/3 the thickness of the tree section you are planning to shape.

In order for the wire to be able to shape the tree, you need to randomly apply small stresses throughout the length of the trunk or branch. So, to avoid a situation where only the wire bends, instead of the tree, the wire needs to be of a stiffer quality than the tree.

To develop the dexterity needed for bonsai wiring you should practice wrapping on a tree branch of similar species. You should try out different wires on your practice branch to see the results before proceeding to the actual tree that you want to train. For doing the full tree many different thicknesses will be needed and you should practice using each and every of those.

To master the delicate skill of bonsai wiring, patience is required. It can be done by any focused practitioner, though, and the time and attention required will pay off.

The cultivation of bonsai trees has been an Asian tradition for centuries, and is now enjoying popularity in western society as well.

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