When Do You Remove Bonsai Wires?

  • By: Josh Koop
  • Date: February 13, 2023
  • Time to read: 7 min.
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When do you remove bonsai wires? If you’re unsure, read on for some reasons why you should.

Here’s what to do if you suspect your bonsai tree is being wire-bites. And if you can’t tell if the wires are actually biting, here’s a list of the reasons you should remove them.

Also, you’ll learn about the duration of the removal process.

Duration of removal process

The duration of bonsai wire removal depends on the tree’s size and difficulty level.

If you’ve trimmed off too much wire, the branch will not be able to support its weight. It might also become too tight for you to remove it.

The wire may also get stuck under the bark, leaving a mark or scar that may not fade over time.

You might have to cut off a branch instead of removing the wire if this happens.

Some plants are particularly tenacious, so they may take longer to bend than others.

Weeping willows, for instance, tend to move their branches back to their original positions in just a few days or even hours.

So, how do you know when to remove the bonsai wire?

There’s no single answer to this question. There’s no one right answer to this question, but a few things you should keep in mind.

First, choose a tree with thick trunks. Wiring trunks is not recommended for all bonsai, but it’s a good idea for thick trunks that will protect the bark.

Another tip is to choose bonsai with thick branches. Then, you can proceed with the wire removal process. If you’ve used wire in the past, make sure you cut off the excess before you use it again.

The duration of the bonsai wire removal process depends on the tree. Generally, it takes about three weeks to remove the wire from a thin-barked deciduous tree.

A conifer, on the other hand, can stay with the wire for up to two years. The scars from removing wire from a conifer usually heal faster than those from thin-barked deciduous trees.

Besides, the bonsai wire removal process’s duration depends on the tree type and its growth habits.

Fast-growing trees, like junipers, require less time, while slower-growing ones, like pines, require longer to solidify.

A slow-growing tree, however, may need months to adjust to its new shape. But if you’re a beginner, don’t worry. The duration of bonsai wire removal is relatively easy.

The duration of bonsai wire removal depends on whether the wire is made of copper or aluminum.

Copper wire tends to be more durable than aluminum, which is why it’s more often used for bonsai.

Aluminum wire is softer than copper and is perfect for delicate deciduous trees and branches.

However, if you don’t know much about bonsai wire, a video from Colin Lewis is the perfect refresher.

Wiring a small tree is an intricate process; depending on its species, you may have to leave it in place for months before removing it.

This will allow the wire to ramify and set into the desired design. However, there’s no set timeframe for the entire wiring process; you’ll have to decide based on the type of tree and the season.

In summer and spring, branches will thrive, whereas autumn and winter can take up to two months.

You’ll have to wire minor branches separately during the summer and spring. Avoid cross wires, which could damage the tree’s bark or create unsightly wire marks.

Symptoms of wire bite on bonsai tree

Wire bite on your bonsai tree is not uncommon. Depending on its species and size, it may be unsightly.

In severe cases, it may be necessary to cut off the affected branch and grow a new one. In other cases, it may be harmless, and you don’t have to worry about the effects.

However, you should be aware of the symptoms associated with wire bite.

Upon finding the wire, unwind it. Unwind it, and then wrap it in the opposite direction.

Doing so allows the wire to stay on your bonsai tree twice as long without causing damage. Then, check for any other signs that could be a warning sign of a wire bite.

If the wire has bitten into the bark, it is time to cut it off.

Wiring your bonsai is a common procedure, and most species can be wired anytime.

However, certain times of the year have distinct advantages and disadvantages for the bonsai and the stylist.

Bending a branch causes a small crack in the bark or cambium layer. In the growing season, these cracks heal.

In other seasons, it takes much longer for the new branch position to become solidified.

If the branch is wired, the roots will be too far away and may die due to the sudden temperature change.

The roots, which transfer liquid nutrients from photosynthesis to the bonsai, are located in the cambium layer.

Wire wrapping is tricky, and you should always be extremely careful while doing it. Even if you’re an experienced bonsai owner, observe the plant carefully to avoid wire bites.

Wire bite on bonsai trees can be very painful for your tree. If you’ve ever tried to wire your bonsai tree, you probably know how hard it is.

If you’re not sure about wiring, consider hiring a bonsai expert to do it for you. Their expertise will help you prevent any future problems.

In addition to giving you the knowledge you need to care for your tree, the bonsai experts at Bonsai Gardening have created a comprehensive guide to the process.

When wired incorrectly, you can cause your bonsai to bend incorrectly. Fortunately, copper wire has a stronger hold than aluminum, so it is a much safer option.

But don’t be tempted to use thin wire – a wire that’s too thin can cause the tree to snap or break. Copper wire should be at least half the thickness of aluminum.

In case your bonsai tree has been bitten by a wire, you may need to rewire it again. The branch will be more vulnerable to damage if the wire has swollen.

You can then remove the wire. This is a long process, and will require a few months or even years.

After that, you’ll want to watch your bonsai tree closely to ensure it heals quickly.

Reasons to remove bonsai wires

Bonsai wires are not necessary for the growth of your tree. You can remove them from certain branches or parts of a branch.

It is better to cut the wire in small segments rather than trying to pull it out all at once.

When cutting the wire, make sure not to touch the bark on either side. If you do, the bark will come off in a circle and may harm your tree.

The wiring method is a little different than that used for other plants. Wiring a Bonsai after replanting is difficult and can cause damage.

Also, it is not ideal to cut the wire after it has been replanted because it puts more pressure on the tree.

Wires can also cause scarring to the plant, and you’ll need the whole growing season before you can shape it again.

Wires are often placed on a bonsai trunk to bend it. Wires are designed to serve a specific purpose, so it’s not a good idea to cut them off early.

It’s best to use wires that are about a third the length of the tree’s trunk. The longer the trunk is, the more wire you’ll need.

Fortunately, most bonsai wires are shaped to avoid damaging the bark.

If you’ve opted for the wiring method, you may want to do it late in the winter or early spring, when the buds have just begun to open.

You can also wire your Bonsai during mid-winter because branches and trunks swell during the fall and winter.

But be aware that wire scarring takes years to heal. For this reason, it’s best to avoid wire wiring in the winter season.

The wires can also cut the bark of the tree. If the wire is too tight, it will begin to dig in and leave marks on the branch.

If left alone, the branch will continue to grow around the wire and it will consume it. It will be difficult or impossible to remove the wire altogether.

And it may become impossible to prune the tree afterward. It may even grow over the wire. If this happens, it is best to remove the wires as soon as possible.

The second best season for wires on deciduous trees is summer. By the summer, the tree has already completed its main growth.

By summer, the wire is a good idea because leaves interfere with the analysis of branch structure.

The tree will grow enough during this time to close the wound and stabilize the new shape.

However, if the tree is in a warm area, you may want to wait until early autumn to wire it. By that time, most leaves will have fallen off.

There are different reasons to remove bonsai wires. Wires are meant to change the overall shape of the Bonsai tree.

Wires are used to train new branches or even the trunk. Although wires are not used for aesthetic purposes, they are essential to successful Bonsai development.

You may have to keep the wires on your Bonsai until the tree grows into a new shape.