How To Shape A Bonsai Tree With Wire - Bonsai-En

How To Shape A Bonsai Tree With Wire

Tips For Wiring Bonsai Trees


If your going to start bonsai you will straight away notice that the way in which we shape our trees is with Bonsai Wire. There are some more natural approaches such a the lingnan technique more commonly known as clip and grow which involves simply just pruning the branches and letting them grow in their natural way. Most bonsai artists how ever prefer the use of wire to shape their trees which gives a more artistic approach. So lets take a look at a few things to consider when shaping a bonsai tree with wire.


Best Wire To Use For Bonsai

When it comes to wiring bonsai there is always the question of what bonsai wire to use for shaping bonsai trees. There will be 2 main types you will see Copper Bonsai Wire and Aluminium Bonsai Wire. Copper Bonsai Wire is for trees that are stronger at pushing back against the wire, sometimes with aluminium if you don’t apply a big enough wire the tree will bounce back to where it started leaving you with no shape. Copper wire is annealed so when you apply it there is a process that happens that work hardens the wire meaning that it sets harder then aluminium but is still easy to apply. One advantage of copper is that you can apply a smaller size wire but it will have the holding capacity of a larger size aluminium wire. Copper wire is a lot more expensive though and it also leave minimal room for error when wiring as the wire work hardens as you bend it, so if you make a mistake you may have to cut it off and use more wire to try again. Aluminium wire on the other hand is much cheaper to buy and is more forgiving to beginner mistakes. Copper wire also stands out less when applied to the tree due to its color, aluminium mostly comes in black so it tends to stand out more, especially on lighter colored bark.

When To Apply Bonsai Wire?

Bonsai wire can technically be applied at anytime of year but there are some better times to apply then others. I usually try to tell people to avoid wiring during spring, there are 2 reasons for this. 1 reason is that the trees grow rapidly in spring so the wire can cut in fast leaving marks on your tree. Some species this isn’t an issue for like pines and junipers or anything with lots of bark and a thicker callus as it will heal and eventually be unnoticeable. Other trees like deciduous species these wire marks could be permanent. The other reason is that during the spring season the inner tissues of the tree like the cambium are very easily torn due to their soft nature, this means that a bend on a tree that is to aggressive could tear this tissue causing the death of branches or in some cases the whole tree. My advice to beginners until they learn each species and what they can and cant get away with is no wire during spring, small amounts during summer with medium size bends, and heavy wiring and bending during autumn as this is when the tissues harden off and are more resistant to the larger bending. In autumn I try to wire deciduous trees within 2 weeks of them losing their leaves, this allows you to work without foliage in your way and the branches are still flexible enough that your chances of breakages is still minimal, after around 2-3weeks of the foliage been off the tree the branches will begin to harden and become stiff to work with until the tree begins moving water through them again in spring.

When To Remove Bonsai Wire

This will greatly depend on the species and also the health of your tree and the season. For example a very healthy tree in spring which is a strong grower like a juniper you could be removing the wire in as little as 4 weeks. But an old juniper that has been in a bonsai pot for a few years you might be able to keep the wire on for an entire year without it cutting in. The thing to remember is if your tree is young and vigorous and your in the thick of the growing season your wire will need to come off quicker, if your tree is older and slower growing then it could stay on longer. But for the most part this is a watch and act technique and no actual time frame can be given. To Remove Bonsai Wire You Will Need Bonsai Wire Cutters.

Where to Get Bonsai Wire?

Most bonsai nurseries will carry bonsai wire, you can also buy bonsai wire online from online bonsai shops such as Bonsai-En. You can either Buy Copper Bonsai Wire or Aluminium Bonsai Wire. They usually come in 100g rolls, 500g rolls or 1kg rolls. The size roll you buy will just depend on how many trees you have and how much wiring you need to do.

Learn How To Wire Bonsai Trees

When it comes to learning how to properly wire a bonsai tree we can offer you 2 solutions, You can purchase a Bonsai Book such as the one we sell Here. Or you can purchase an online course which will cover the application of bonsai wire more thoroughly which you can see here. Either one of these options will give you a better idea of what you are doing when applying your wire. This is a very important skill to learn in bonsai as it can be your success or failure when shaping your trees.
I hope this has helped give you a little more knowledge on how to shape your bonsai trees with wire.
Until Next Time, Enjoy Your Bonsai Journey.

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Author : Joshua Hooson

Joshua Hooson is an author and enthusiast of the art of bonsai. He has built his knowledge and understanding of bonsai through a combination of self-experience, lessons learned through hands-on practice, and extensive research. His articles reflect his passion for the subject and offer insights gained through his own personal journey in the world of bonsai. All the information provided in his works is a result of his own experiences and the knowledge he has gained through his studies. He is dedicated to sharing his love of bonsai and helping others grow in their understanding and appreciation of this ancient and beautiful art form.

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