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Wiring

Nebari Bonsai

Some notes on wiring I prepared for a recent presentation.

Left to right: too small, too heavy, just right:

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With aluminum wire (use on deciduous trees and azaleas), use a wire that is 1/3-1/2 the diameter of the target branch.

Left to right: too tightly-coiled, too-loosely coiled, just right:

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When wiring a branch, 60-degree angle is the generally accepted, correct wiring spacing. Too tight, and the holding power is reduced, wire is wasted, and scarring is increased. Too loose, and the holding power is reduced, and branches tend to break with the diminished support provided by the wire. Just right, and the bend should hold. Added considerations to proper wiring include planing the wiring route so wire will be on the outside of bends, opposite side of buds, and always routed to pass consistently under or above secondary branches…more on that shortly.

Two techniques, and how to use them together:

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What not to do

Nebari Bonsai

Usually, we get to see and read about properly applied techniques. Recently I had an opportunity to work on a tree that exhibited some mistakes that can be made when employing commonly-used techniques. More importantly, here is the result after a few years to see why it’s important to avoid these mistakes.

1. Too-tightly wired. Wire should be applied in wider coils, around 60 degrees from parallel to the branch, and just a bit looser than this. Why?
-It allows sap to flow more easily
-It prevents girdling (see how the bark swelled up around the wires)
-It allows the wire to stay on the tree longer before it digs in
-It has stronger holding power than tightly-coiled wires

While it is a matter of personal preference, copper wire is stiffer than aluminum, so a thinner wire can be used and have the same holding power as thicker aluminum, and…

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Guy Wire Primer

Nebari Bonsai

Guy wires

Using guy wires added a new dimension to styling trees.  It’s one thing to read about it, but give it a try if the design calls for it.  When?  Why?

  1. Bend larger branches that would require wire larger than practical to use
  2. Move short, stocky branches
  3. Hold a broken (intentional or unintentional) branch in position
  4. Inconspicuously move a branch when preparing a tree for show
  5. Reposition a portion of the tree that won’t set before the wire becomes embedded
  6. Gradual bending over a course of weeks is a safer course of action

This Japanese Black Pine has been in training for the last 5 years.  The article chronicling it’s development is HERE.  These photos are from Fall ’09, Fall ’10, and Last winter, after wiring, a new front was chosen to address some of the problems that aren’t really visible from front-on shots, and to make use…

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