So I have to admit that I was pretty nervous walking into the second bonsai class. It had been a month since our last class (read more about that here), my elm barely had leaf growth and my bonsai partner was off parenting in Manhattan Beach. I was early so I picked a spot near the front of the room, and smiled the entire way there. Every tree that I could see looked just like mine. Mostly naked branches.
As the class filled, trees of varying growth rates started to appear, but most were bare. One lady however, had a tree that was almost fully covered in big green leaves! The instructor must of sensed everyone’s concern that they were killing their trees, and assured us that Elms are notorious for growing at different rates. It did actually make me feel better.
I was blessed to have another fantastic trainer. He talked through everything he would do with the tree, cut some wire, and left you to figure it out. I was eager to jump in and try it, but nervous as well.
- The ideal wire size should be 1/2 the diameter of the branch you are wiring. Smaller is OK, bigger should be avoided.
- Wrap the wire at least 2 times around the anchor branch.
- Wrap in a 45 degree angle, and not too tightly.
- If the wraps are too close together, the wire will force the branch into it’s original position after you’ve attempted to bend it.
- If the wraps are too far apart, the wire will not have enough “pull” to keep the branch bent into your desired position.
- Avoid covering nodes on the branch.
Here is a pic of the branch just after the video ended.
The next step is to wire each branch separately. Notice how the wires approach each “to-be-wired” branch in a direction that will compliment the direction you want to bend it, not push against it. Maybe you would like me to illustrate another graphic to help show this? Just ask.
Finally, the branches are manipulated into the desired form. Look at the flow of the tree…how can you compliment it? What areas of the tree need to be filled in?
I apologize for not having more videos to share. It was tough working on the tree and documenting at the same time.
Here’s our wired Chinese Elm Tree: