Bonsai Wiring For Beginners

For many beginners wiring and even the thought of wiring, can cause a bit of anxiety. Wiring is something that will have to be done by each bonsai enthusiast at some point, so the best thing to do is to be prepared and ready for that day.

In this small article I hope to relieve some of the anxiety and help prepare those beginners who have yet to do any wiring on their trees.

To wire this branch which will have the emphasis mainly on the last half out toward the end of the branch, you need to have a starting point or an anchor point if you will. I started on the trunk with this one just below where the branch is located.

Here is where you will decide how much to wire, or how tight. Since this branch at the base needs no holding power I’m wrapping it loose. Notice the space between the wire and the branch.

For any branch that needs only minimal holding power, leave this space in there. Notice how my fingers are placed while holding the wire as I twist it on the branch.

With this space you’ll be able to observe how the branch is thickening, and should be able to overcome the wire eating into it.

Not your typical 45deg. twist because I don’t need that much holding power at this particular point. The more severe the bend the closer the twist should be, but also leaving a space between wire and branch. The only time I don’t leave a space is when the branch is so stiff and the bend so severe that the space wouldn’t be practical. Caution is needed here though because you must be constantly aware of how much the branch is growing at all times to prevent the wire from eating into the branch.

So this is what the wiring would like from the anchor point. After this as I said, the tightness of the bends will be determined as to how much you need to bend the branch

This Shimpaku needed just about every branch wired to bring it into the desired shape. Something like this will take any where from six to eight hours work on a tree of this size

A pair of bonsai wire cutters. Don’t skimp and try to use regular side cutters for cutting or removing wire on bonsai trees.

These specialty wire cutters are made to do the job easy and right.

Below is what will happen if you wire too tight and forget to check the growth rate of the wired branch. Notice how the wire just ate right into the branch leaving an ugly scar that will probably be with the tree for life.

About Thomas J.

I started doing bonsai in 1991 after buying my first Chine Elm from Dallas Bonsai, who at the time was selling trees and supplies at a local mall.

At the time I was mostly interested in deciduous trees but after a few years moved up to working on junipers. My last holdout was the Japanese Black Pine which I began to work with in 2007 after acquiring a specimen from a friend.

I've had a few of my trees published in the "Gold Awarded Penjing of the World". Some call bonsai an art and some call it a craft, but for me it's a little of both with some high anxiety thrown in, at others times a world of peace and beauty right outside my backdoor.

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