Controlling the growth of a maturing bonsai plant can be done through wire training. This is an important technique that allows you to shape and style your tree. To achieve this, you just have to wrap the wire around the developing branches and reposition them depending on your preferences until they form into your desired shape. 

While wiring lets you make your bonsai uniquely beautiful, there are times when you have to look for alternatives. Doing so is also necessary to protect sensitive trees. Here are different ways to make your plant grow into an aesthetically pleasing form:

Use Strings or Corks

Some branches of bonsai plants can be too small for wiring. Instead of heavy wires, use strings to pull them down or encourage them to grow closer to the trunk. A regular jute string is helpful for this purpose.

Besides strings, corks are other bonsai tools you can use for shaping branches. These can be used to pry apart little branches and eliminate wire marks that leave horrible scars on your plant.

 

Undercut a Branch

Another option to make the branches grow into your desired form without wiring is to undercut them. To do this, use a “V” cut to the branch and slowly bend it down until it meets the cambium layer on the lower part. Afterwards, apply a sealing paste and bind it with budding tape. This is a technique that is similar to a massage as you bend the branch down slowly.

Crack the Branches

‘Cracking’ the branches can encourage them to bend towards a more appealing form. To improve the branch’s flexibility, the tree must be only slightly dry. Trees with cells full of water are not ideal because the branches seem to snap easier than drier ones.

Place your thumbs together under the branch you want to crack to provide support, then slowly bend it until it breaks. Just make sure it breaks only on the top half. Next, place a small pebble in the crack, seal it with wound paste, and wrap it with budding tape. Wait until it heals.

Note that some trees are stiff and brittle and may snap off completely once bent, while others are more flexible and can be bent easily into curves. Remember to check the bending limits of your tree’s flexibility before doing this procedure.

Prune

Pruning your bonsai is a common shaping technique that allows you to form it into a pleasing shape. It also helps you control its size and volume. This method is best for young plants, so consider doing this while your tree is still young.

When pruning a bonsai for the first time, ready a pair of scissors and other tools so you can properly adjust your plant’s shape. Consider also the plant’s direction, density, and length of the branches. You can start cutting the branches once your plant gets older. Meanwhile, if you have a full-grown plant, pruning will help improve its appearance.

 

Conclusion

Wire training is a common way to shape bonsai trees, but it is difficult to master. For example, the wires may start eating into the growing branches once left on for a long time, damaging the plant. Thankfully, there are many alternative methods to shaping bonsai. To start trying out these techniques, equip yourself with high-quality tools.

At Bonsai Shop Australia, we offer top-notch bonsai tool kits and accessories to keep your plant healthy and improve its beauty. All our products are available in Australia and New Zealand. Browse our collection today or order now!