When can I wire my bonsai tree?
Wiring a woody bonsai plant is best accomplished in fall or in wintertime. Do not wire your bonsai tree in spring or summer, as it may damage the buds.
Before you begin wiring, hold off watering your bonsai plant at the usual time--waiting an extra day makes the branches more pliable and easier to shape. Use a wire 1/3 as thick as the branch at its thickest point. Only use wire on branches that are at least 2 inches thick. The wire should be 1 1/2 times as long as the branch being wired.
While wiring, don't change directions. Changing direction may weaken or damage the branch. Start at the lowest point on the tree, and work from the largest up to the smallest branch.
Wiring the trunk is best done by securing the end of the wire into the soil, pushing it so it touches the bottom of the pot. Wire diagonally in either direction. Keep the wrapping uniformly spaced and snug, but not too loose or too tight. Too much slack will not pressure the tree into the desired form, while wrapping too tight can damage the tree. To carefully bend a wired trunk in the preferred direction, place your thumb against the main part of the wired branch while pulling the end of the branch toward you with your other hand.
If a split occurs, stop and wrap the damaged area with tape and then with wire. The damage should heal itself in a few months.
Keep the newly wired tree out of direct sunlight for 2-4 days and water daily.
After 2-3 months, when the tree has formed to the desired shape, carefully remove the wire. Now you have a miniature tree to admire for years to come.
For tips on a variety of gardening topics, see our Plant Information Guides.
- Courtesy of NYBG Plant Information Service