Wiring: The WHY's, HOW's, and WHEN's
Why would I wire my tree?
Wiring is a method of shaping your tree that allows you to visually communicate the illusion of age in a tree by directing branches downward and in dynamic lateral directions.
Younger trees and branches reach toward the sun. In nature, it is not until trees are damaged, cut, split, weighed by snow, etc. that they begin to display a weathered appearance. In bonsai, the artist functions as the weather.
Branches can be shaped and moved as needed to fill in gaps, add visual interest, or to draw attention away from flaws on the tree.
How to wire…
There are several important skills to implement when wiring branches, both for the health of each branch and to maximize the wires effectiveness as you bend.
It is possible for branches to split and crack during the wiring process, so be sure to support the branch as wire is applied.
- Support the trunk and branches as you wire and bend.
- Wire two branches with one wire and always anchor by wiring around the trunk between branches.
- Wrap at a 45-55 degree angle.
- Don’t leave gaps between the wire and the tree.
- Avoid crossing wires.
First, measure your wire to the length of the two branches you would like to wire. Add a little extra length to allow a wrap or two around the trunk between branches.
The two branches you wire should not be directly across from one another on the trunk, but at the next level, up or down, from one another.
As you support the tree in the pot, make a wrap or two around your first branch. Next, wrap around the trunk until you arrive at the second branch, and continue to wire out your second branch. The wire must wrap at least once around the trunk to anchor branches properly.
Remember, wrap at a 45-55 degree angle with little to no gaps between the wire and tree. Wrap to the end of both branches before bending.
Once both branches are wired completely, support and bend branches with both hands to avoid snapping and cracking. Keep an eye on the branch at the bend point and stop once you begin to see cracking.
When should I remove my wire?
When you notice the wire is 'biting in' to the branch and trunk. At this point you may unwrap the wire and use it again, or you may have to cut the wire off at each wrap to remove it without damaging the tree.