The Art of the Bonsai: How to Use Tree Training Wire
The mindful art of bonsai is a relaxing and meditative practice that has been in existence for centuries. Those that maintain bonsai trees use a variety of bonsai tree accessories in order to produce a specific aesthetic. Most of us think of the tiny and precise scissors used to prune bonsai trees, but the most beautiful ones are not only pruned. Training bonsai trees with specialized wire creates the shape that is desired.
Why Use Wire
Each type of bonsai tree accessories serves a specific role in maintaining the classic look of the tree. Training wire is used to force the tree to grow branches in certain directions. Without wire, it would be very difficult to shape your bonsai tree for the specific look that you want.
Types of Wire
There are many types of bonsai tree accessories, including wire made of different metals and available in a variety of gauges. Copper and aluminum wires are the most common for bonsai tree training, but aluminum is much easier to work with.
The most common gauges of wire available at bonsai tree accessories shops are between 1 and 8 mm thick. The thicker the branch that you wish to train, the thicker the wire you will need to use. Having a variety of tree training wire on hand is a good idea.
When to Wire
Most maintenance with bonsai tree accessories is done throughout the year. Bonsai trees can be wired at any time, though it may be easier to do in the winter months. In the dormant season, deciduous bonsai trees will not have leaves and it will be easier to see the shape of the branches. Your bonsai will also grow more slowly in the winter so the danger scarring from the wire is reduced.
How to Wire and Bend
Bonsai tree wiring is an artform that requires practice, just like using any other bonsai tree accessories. Choose wire that is 1/3 the thickness of the branch for adequate support.
Begin by wrapping the wire around the trunk of your bonsai once or twice and then cutting a piece of wire long enough to wrap around your desired branch. Your bonsai tree accessories should include wire cutters to make this easier.
Once you have wrapped the branches of your bonsai, it is time to start bending them to the desired positions. Carefully apply pressure to the inside of the curve. It is possible to accidentally crack or damage your tree, so be gentle. Quality bonsai tree accessories help, but practice and patience are essential to creating a beautiful bonsai.
When to Remove Wires
The wires you have applied will need to be removed before they cause permanent scarring on your bonsai tree. Depending on how quickly your plant grows, this could be within one and four months. Wire cutters are a necessary part of your bonsai tree accessories toolbox. You will need to carefully cut the wire at each turn to remove it without damaging your tree.
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