Wiring is an integral part of the bonsai. It provides your tree the shape you want. You can say that this is the major “Art” aspect of your bonsai. Without wiring, your bonsai will not look as aesthetically pleasing as you might expect it to be. Now, many people new to the craft wonder, how old should a bonsai be before wiring or if there is an age limit at all.
An acceptable age to wire them would be about three to five years. However, there isn’t really a definite age to when you should wire them. Aside from that, bonsai trees, which are deciduous trees, are easier to wire in the late winter because they have no leaves then. If you’re wiring in the growing season then you need to be careful as the branches are already grown by then.
Wiring helps your deciduous trees develop into better and more healthy trees. Although, there is more to the importance of wiring a bonsai which this article will cover all about.
You will also get to know about the necessary things to consider while wiring your bonsai tree, what is the best time to wire train your bonsai, and how long you should leave in the wire.
Best Time To Wire Bonsai
Well, according to the professionals, the best time to wire your bonsai tree is during late winter or early spring. Even though it can also be done at any time of the year, it is more flexible to wire during the time of trimming. Seasonal changes play a big role in wire training your bonsai so that it achieves optimum growth.
During the summer, the cambium of the bonsai is filled with sap. This makes it easier to detach the bark from the wood if you make severe bends to the tree.
The smaller branches are automatically hardened so they can easily be wired. Although, it is likely that foliage will get in your way making the job a bit more difficult.
In spring, you are more likely to break a fragile branch or a soft bark while wiring. This is because the bonsai starts its active growth cycle during this period. You also need to be attentive to ensure that the wiring is not cutting the tree.
On the other hand, autumn is not the best time for wiring as the bonsai starts setting new buds for the coming year’s foliage. Thus, the perfect time to wire your bonsai is winter.
If you were asking yourself “When should I start wiring my bonsai?” hopefully it is much clearer to you now.
Why Is Bonsai Wiring So Necessary?
You can either use double-wire or single-wire to wire train the bonsai according to its condition. Wire training your bonsai is very essential for the healthy growth of the tree. This is because the tree only grows up to a certain length so it can be strong and mature in that length. The wires help shape the tree into preferable growing patterns which makes it look appealing.
You should understand that the beautiful shapes bonsais have are not natural. It is at the core of the art to shape the trees and give them their aesthetic appearance. And, you cannot do that without wiring.
Double-wiring the bonsai will provide more support to the branches, helping the tree grow healthier. This requires you to wire two branches of the same width together with a piece of wire.
You can then wire the rest separately, known as single wiring. It will take a few months before the branches are fully set in their current position so the branches should be wired before you start shaping them.
There are, however, certain bonsai bending tools and techniques to wire the bonsai. Let’s take a brief look into how these two wiring procedures work.
When you select the branches you wish to wire, you need to make sure that they’re positioned next to each other and are of the same thickness.
The wire should be of such a length that it can wrap around the branches a maximum of two times. Go ahead with wiring the trunk at first and then one branch at a time for the best outcome!
Begin with wiring from the base of the branch. You can then move to the very tip of it, before moving on to the next one. The tree will grow denser while maintaining its new shape if you wrap the wire at a 45-degree angle.
If you prefer to bend the branch downwards you have to wire from below and similarly, bending upwards will require wiring from above. After completing, wire the rest with a single wire.
Similar to double-wiring, make sure you cut enough wire to wrap around the trunk twice. It should also cover the branches from the base to the tip at a 45-degree angle.
If several wires are covering the same part of the trunk, you can try tying them neatly together without crossing the trunk!
You can proceed with wiring the branch after. This single-wire method also comes in handy in shaping the Individual branches!
When To Remove The Wiring From The Bonsai?
Well, this really depends on the breed of the tree. However, generally, the wire should be left on for approximately two to three months to allow the branches enough time to set into the new design.
It could take more than a few months or even less than that to wire a bonsai. The time you leave the wire on the branches truly depends on the results.
If the tree is looking strong and is styled according to your preference, you can take out the wires right away!
You have to look out for the tree from time to time. Once it has achieved the desired results, you need to take out the wires even if it has not completed the ideal time frame of three months.
Moreover, you also need to remove the wires if they start to grow into the branches and the tree starts showing any signs of distress. Leaving the wire on for too long can damage your tree’s strong branches to the point where it’s beyond any repair.
Taking care of your bonsai is a constant struggle. You have to wire the tree and keep checking up on it frequently to make sure it’s in good health.
Remember that pruning is vital both before and after the wiring period of your tree. In this way, the branches can grow appropriately, leading to wired patterns.
A reason why you might need to remove the wiring early is if you see that your bonsai’s health is deteriorating. You also need to make sure that your bonsai is in good health after the wiring process. So, be sure to check on your bonsai from time to time.
If the plant starts to look unwell, the first thing you need to do is to use wire cutters to remove the wires and then nourish them back to their optimal health.
Keeping the wiring on an unhealthy plant will only ruin the condition further. You can try again after that.
Now that you know how old should a bonsai be before wiring, you have to remember to be patient with the process. It is indeed time-consuming but you will need to invest enough energy and take proper measures.
Only then you will see that your bonsai has grown into a beautiful, structured tree. Thanks for reading the whole article. Hope your hard work pays off and your bonsai tree turns out as appealing as you wanted it to be!