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Wire

Text, sketches and photos by Morten Albek, Denmark
www.albek-bonsai.de
www.Shohin-europe.com
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Wire must be applied in a 45 degree angle in order to hold the branch in position.

Wire is applied in a position of 45 degrees, in order to be able to hold the branches in position. Also be sure to make the wire be on top of a bend, in order to give it effect. Remember to select a wire that will be able to hold the branches and therefore select a wire with a thickness that matches the branch it has to be applied to.

Protect The Bark

To wire you have to know what your trees are able to tolerate. Azaleas and Pines have delicate bark, which can be damaged easily if you donít protect them by wrapping the wire with paper before it is applied to the branch. Or you can wrap the branches with natural and breathing raffia first. The latter method is mostly used to make heavy bends, and the raffia then holds the bark so it doesnít break as easily. Remember to soak the raffia in water before use; else it will be too difficult to apply.

On young branches of Pines I donít wrap the wire with paper. But on older more delicate branches I find it essential to avoid damaging the mature structure of bark, which is very important to keep intact.

Wire in different thicknesses and tools for wiring.

When To Wire

Concerning what time is the best for wiring, it depends on what kind of tree that has to be wired. You can wire all year, but how long the wire can stay on the branches depends on the growing habits of the tree.

Some deciduous specimens have very fragile branches when sap flow starts in spring, and therefore you have to wait until the sap flow is less.

Pines wired after November can keep the wire on approximately between six to ten months.

If a Pine is wired in early autumn it is important to look after the wire after just two or tree months to prevent the branches from getting damaging marks by the wire. This is due to the fact that root growth is extensive at this time, and thereby the branches will swell faster than the rest of the year.

Especially in the case of Pines it will take a very long time or even be impossible to correct branches with wire marks.

Preparation Before Wiring

It is important to always reduce the sap flow in the branches before wiring.

Therefore the tree must be only slightly moist before work begins. Depending on the weather i.e. you must plan to dry out the tree before action is taken, but be very careful that no harm is done to the tree.

The reduced sap flow will protect the branches and twigs from breaking when they are bended.

After the wiring is completed the tree should be watered thoroughly in order to fill the cells with water again.

Deciduous Trees

The branches of most deciduous trees swell fast when buds sprout in spring. When you wire deciduous trees it is safer to wait until summer or later, unless you are very keen to observe the trees and removes the wire in time. A few days of laziness and failing of observing the trees can damage the branches in the fast growing period in spring.

Wiring deciduous trees is easier after the leaves are off. The chance of breaking fragile tender shoots is less and it is far easier to observe and make a fine silhouette without leaves preventing you from observingthe overall branch structure.

Wiring During Winter

It is no problem to wire during winter, but the wire has to stay on longer before it will keep the branches in position. Some species, like Pines, may need to be rewired in order to keep older branches in position. Remember to do this in the opposite direction in order to keep the wire from making marks in the branches.

Also jinned branches can be wired in position. After the branch is dried out it will stay in position.

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