How to Create Drastic Bends on a Bonsai Trunk

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I’m going to be showing you guys How to create dramatic bands and twists In your bonsai trunks in order to make Them look a lot more interesting as they Mature into older trees [Music] [Applause] [Music] So whenever it comes to banding and Twisting trunks on your trees i would Firstly always recommend the tighter the Twist you want wire the tree at a Younger age this is just a little fuja That i wired yesterday started off as Like a little shrub and it actually Surprised me how much of a band i could Get on this tree there’s one two coils And i could probably give it a third if I wanted to but i decided to take it up Straight from the back so that i could Then begin to develop a branch structure On it So i’m going to grab a little fuja that Is similar to the one that i wired Yesterday and basically show you what i Did to that tree this is the little Young fuji we got here as you can see The branches are very flexible the Bonsai tools that i will be keeping on Hand today are bonsai twig cutters or Branch cutters a pair of gin pliers And some wire cutters and the wire

Gauges that i’ll be using here today are One millimeter aluminium bonsai wire and Three millimeter aluminium bonsai wire So the first thing i’d like to do is get Wire the entire way around the whole Trunk of this tree so i’m going to grab The three millimeter bonsai wire and Just measure About here and i always like to leave a Little bit extra for the amount that i Dig into the soil in the pot I could probably take this out of the Pot just to see what’s going on in here Quite a lot of roots so i won’t be doing Any re-potting but it’s just to see the Health of the roots and these roots are Very healthy as you can see they’re nice And lightly colored in spring next year I might reduce the root ball and plant It into a nicer pot but for now it’s Going to stay in this little plastic Training one i’m just going to pull it Around the trunk of the tree It is still possible to band older trees You can use techniques like branch Splitting where you actually split the Trunk of the tree right down the middle But with that there’s always a chance of Seeing the split scar as the tree heals Later on in life so if you have patience I think it’s a better method to wire the Tree when it’s younger but i’m still not Against the splitting method if i have a Tree and i need to do that i will gladly

Give that a go i’m just going to cut the Wire at this point here and i’m going to Go grab some two and a half mil bonds i Wear this is just an old scrap piece of Wire that i found in the heap of scrap Wire that i collect because this is Quite a young tree we’re not doing any Refinement wiring we’re just sort of Giving it a basic shape now i don’t want To take this wire the whole way up the Trunk as i did the last one because that Seems unnecessary to me normally you Would find a thicker branch to anchor it To but there is none here I don’t think i need to anchor it if the Wire’s coiled enough times it will sort Of anchor itself so whenever you Continue to wire up the trunk it has a Good grip on the branch that way i’m Just going to take it up the rest of the Branch Careful not to trap any of your nice Foliage with the wire just weave the Wire in between it here is where i Previously chopped the previous apex of The tree because this used to be a Really long whip it’s quite thicker here So i want this piece to become the new Leader so i’m just going to cut off this Thicker piece that was previously here And then carry the wire up this thinner Branch be very careful up here as it’s So delicate Now because the base of the tree is a

Lot stronger than the end of the tree i Can easily manipulate the end of here With the wire down here it’s not so easy So i’m going to place on a second piece Of the three millimeter wire just from The base to about halfway up the trunk And it should look something like this Depending on which way you’ve wired if You’ve wired clockwise or anti-clockwise Will depend on which way you can bend The tree but you want it so that as you Bend the tree the wire begins to tighten So it’s mostly the tightening of the Wire as you bend the trunk that keeps The branch in place so if i take this Piece of wire here that’s been coiled This way if i were to turn the branch The opposite way of the coil It loosens and i turn the coil in the Same way as the branch the coils Tighten up and that’s quite a dramatic View of what’s happening but when you Twist the branch that’s what’s going on I like to start the bends from really Far down the trunk That way the movement begins from just As the tree exits the pot And because i’m bending this quite Dramatically i’m always keeping an eye Out on the band points because if There’s any terran starting to occur on The band point or on the outside of the Band that’s when i know we’ve gone too Far so once you see that start to happen

If it happens Stop bending at that point Just curling it round You’ll find that young trees can be bent So much it’s incredible You can actually use the gin pliers to Help you along with this If you grab the wire and bend it that Way So now at this point any branches Growing downwards after i’ve gave it the Bands that i want i’m going to cut off Provided that the tree will have enough Branches growing upwards to supply it With energy oh i’m just going to cut That off i may have bent it a little bit Too far or in this area here as you can See the bark starting to tear off so Just as a precaution in this area i know It should be fine because it has healed Once before from an area like that here And it’s starting to heal over but just As a precaution i’m going to cover this Area that has torn with a little bit of Sealant This is the sealant paste that i’m using Here today this is just for putting over Some wounds on trees if you have any Exposed areas that you don’t want the Tree losing moisture to so this is just Sort of like a first stalin little wavy Trunk the tree’s young and then as the Tree gets older and grows taller and Thicker we’ll remove the wire before it

Starts to bite in and then in the future We’ll be able to give this tree another Styling and give it even more bands and When this branch here gets a little bit Thicker you’ll be able to wire it Downwards and start to give the tree a Triangular shape much like this one here So that’s how to wear a tree when it’s Younger and a little sort of seedling Type thing and it’s really easy to band With wire but what happens if you have a Tree that has a really straight trunk And you want to give it some sort of Interest and bend in it this tree is Quite a mature tree for a japanese larch The trunk is still somewhat flexible but Nowhere near as flexible as a seedling Would be how do we ban something like This first i want to see what’s going on Lower down in this tree to do that i’m Going to cut through The pot i like to do this to pots Whenever i don’t have enough bonsai pots Laying around like plastic training pots Really think about it all that makes a Bonsai plastic training pot a training Pot is that it’s virtually made of Plastic and that it’s shallow So we have relatively strong plastic Pots you can just cut them down in size And save yourself the trouble of having To repot it especially at the wrong time Of year If this was a piece of material that was

Maybe slightly thicker i would advocate Using a trunk splitter but i don’t think I should use one on this tree when i Don’t have to it’s pretty Pretty flexible for the tree of its age Which is quite common with larches like This one so what i’m going to be doing Is i’m going to be using stuff called Raffia which is pam leaf let me show you This is a little bundle of raffia here And this is used to protect trunks and Branches of trees that we’re going to Wire and give drastic bands to because As we twist the branch and tighten the Wire as i explained before the wire can Dig in quite a lot and if you’re giving It a drastic band you don’t want the Wire to scar or dig in too much to the Tissue of the tree so in bonsai we use This stuff which is raffia and it’s Wrapped very tightly around the tree to Offer it some protection against this Harsh wire and because i know largest Can grow incredibly quickly like all These branches here have developed in The last year i’m not too worried about Defoliating the tree from here up Applying raffia and then wiring it That’s what i’m going to do [Applause] For this last branch here i’m just going To take off the foliage on it but leave The branch as an anchor for the raffia As i get to the top so to prepare the

Raffia we’re just going to put it in a Tray got a little bundles here already Made up to use this isn’t quite so Organized i’m just going to fill it up With some water And i want to let this soak for at least Five minutes We just want to bundle Together and a knot tied at the end Whenever you’re selecting the raffia as You get it it’s good to use pieces that Are quite thick and strong and the Longer it is the better because you Don’t have to keep using more bundles And you can tell good quality raffia From the strength of it weaker raffia Tends to break a lot easier especially Whenever we’re tightening it around the Trees you want to be good strong quality Stuff Two bundles should do it for this Japanese large so whenever you’re Applying raffia you want to start by Placing it around the trunk or the Branch that you’re placing it onto Simply tie a knot and you want to Tighten it around the base of the trunk As far down as you can get it and from Here now i can cut this little nut And i want to have this piece Facing upwards and i’m going to start Coiling it around the tree now each time I coil around i’m going to pull it tight As you can see i’m laying the raffia in

A flat fashion where all the strands are Sort of in line you don’t want it to be Sort of coiled up and then sort of Overlapping them on top of each other Space them out evenly and have it place Against the trunk nice and flat you Don’t want to leave a big massive space And have a chance of there being gaps in Between you want to overlap the raffia On top of itself about halfway over the Last wrap that’s a sign that it’s tight Enough if the water sort of Squeezing out of it as you tighten it Now as i come to the end of the raffia Here i want to seamlessly attach the Next piece and to do that i’m going to Take this raffia and lay it downwards Like this and continue wrapping but only Wrap around that Piece As we come around with the old piece as It starts to run out we can lay that Flat against the trunk And then take the new piece And wrap around that I’m going to use this branch here now as An anchor to finish off the raffia so I’m going to bring it around the trunk Just one more time making sure that it’s Super tight and come over the branch Create a loop with my thumb here come Around the tree and then place that Piece of raffia through the loop we’ve Created then we can just tighten it

There on that branch cut off the loose End I’m just going to go along and cut off Any stray pieces that sort of fell out From the last piece on the way Especially this big end piece here And it’s nice to have your even your Raffia although it looks messy when it’s On the tree it’s good to have it Somewhat tidy before you wire it This is three and a half millimeter wire And pulling it around it Fairly tightly i just found a piece of Scrap wire from like a really thick Piece of wire that i completely forgot i Had which i’m going to add to the wire That i just put on here so we’ll have a Double coil i think this wire is about Maybe five six millimeter fairly tightly Again following the last wire Okay So So now the question is how Drastically do i want to ban this tree And i have done this to a tree before so I know that larches like this can take This kind of band trees like japanese Maples can’t bend as well as this Whenever they’re mature they would be More likely to snap so it’s always good To know the species that you’re doing This on Okay so that’s a pretty good band so far Now i’m not just bending it to the side

I’m twisting it as i bend and that just Helps it tighten and hold it in place a Little bit easier so already It’s sitting to the side and i kind of Like That sort of cascade look you could you Know you could easily go for a cascade But i want to keep going with the band Because there’s a lot more Up here and if we put all this raffia on We don’t want that to go to waste for Just one band like this and i want it to Be a fairly organic band i don’t want it Just to sort of come up straight here And go out i want to try and give it More twist so it comes right from the Base and up Moving up the trunk now with two hands I’m just going to twist Okay See how we’re getting the curve now Okay Now that’s a super tight band that i Give this tree for an older tree like This there would probably be a lot of Tears in here but the raffia will keep All that together and keep moisture Around them tears so that they heal Pretty seamlessly I’m going to use the gin pliers just to Grab another little bend be very careful When you use gin pliers because it can Seem like you’re putting very little Force as you can see now it’s got this

Drastic band for when it comes up the Trunk goes up behind And around and then this is going to Become the new apex up here and just so That it doesn’t grow out of control i Want it to sort of grow outwards from Here just going to snap the top of the Tree And from there it will grow outwards and Now i actually did this exact process to A large earlier in the year which i have Right here Just going to cut this pot down so we Can see what’s going on So as you can see this band is slightly More dramatic than this one this tree Has grown a lot more in the top now Because i removed branches that were all Down here nice time for this tree to be Unwired to see the results of what we Just done here i always like the Unwearing process it’s always exciting To see the branches in place without Wire on them i know like the raffia and The wire can be really unsightly and it Kind of looks unnatural and the whole Aim of bonsai is to make it look natural But in bonsai things will look a lot Worse before they look a lot better Okay It’s coming off pretty easily and i can See it’s starting to dug into the raffia Which means it’s probably slightly dug Into the trunk which tells me that now

Is the perfect time to take it off and Here we go with a second piece of wire Ah i’m actually remembering what i’ve Done here From Earlier in the year i think i stripped Off half of the like i actually stripped Off half the trunk and then used a wire Up along the tree for support oh what a Surprise i never i completely forgot i Did this now that i see the wire inside The raffia i’m just sort of remembering What i’ve done the band is holding Anyways without the wire on it which Means It’s done let’s just take this off and See what’s happening under here that’s The wire there Kind of helps with um taking this off Oh wow that’s quite a beautiful effect Look at that the dead wood running up The side of the tree i could probably Later come back and carve this out with The grafton knife and here you can see There is a crack from when i twisted it I get all this raffia off ah i’ve also Wrapped masking tape around the trunk as Well to keep the wire on when i was Doing this that’s what that stickiness Is It’s like a little surprise i completely Forgot about this tree As i started doing bonsai there just Became hundreds of birds in this area

Look at them There’s more up there Starlings I’m using a brass brush you don’t want To go really hard at this you just want To go gently to remove the old raffia it Really cleans up the dead wood well too Let’s get rid of all that old wrap yeah Should i leave this part of the video in Where i Clean up the trunk Just got some tweezers to help peel off The masking tape On the tree where i created this uh sort Of makeshift cherry the tree is actually Healed over pretty fast along the top Here i’m gonna take this knife also Known as the shari maker just reinstate This shari here Just following it down the trunk You can always Take off more but you can’t add to a Shari so whenever you do this it’s Always just good to work a little bit at A time make sure you’re working with a Nice clean sharp knife also it’s also Starting to heal around here Cut that off And then further down at the bottom of The trunk here you can see it’s also Starting to grow back in and that Happens i’m just going to cut down You can see here where i snapped the Tree as it was bent and this piece sort

Of stuck out and grew a little piece of Scar tissue kind of ruins the flow of The band in the tree so i’m just going To cut that off The idea is to show that half of the Tree is alive and the other half is dead I think the larch is a species is an Excellent tree for beginners because They grow so vigorously so any Experiments or things you want to try Out on trees lurch i think is the one to Do it with In terms of repotting you want to repot Lurches every maybe one to two years in Spring as young trees but as they get Into more mature trees i’d say repot Them maybe every three to four years as They start to slow down a little from my Experience larch’s drank a lot of water Like i’d water these three times more Than any other of my trees and for that Reason i tend to put them in more Composty soil than free draining soil Just so that it holds a bit more water So i’m not watering it constantly i’m Gonna put this tree into a nice new pot And that will be able to refine more and Pull off more of the raffia that’s still Stuck to it i wouldn’t consider this Tree to be a finished tree And i don’t want to put it into a nice Bonsai pot quite yet so i’ll be placing It into this little small terracotta pot Before it moves into a nice bonsai pot

Let’s get this large out of this pot Again i’m using a big sort of drip tray To catch all the soil [Applause] I can keep this as a little training pot For another tree i know it seems like I’m using more and more tools from the Start but i did not intend to be Repotting today and although it is the Wrong time of year to repot it’s coming Into the end of summer right now i am Going to take great care to overwinter This tree so i know this tree will be Okay but if you’re doing this and you Don’t have the facilities to protect the Tree in winter at advisory potent in Spring i have a bonsai root right here And a bent fork and a wooden chopstick Whenever i got this it actually came Bare root came like i think i got them Really cheap it was something like 30 Pounds for 25 of these japanese larges So i’ve got lots of them to experiment On up there and i actually created a Forest with some of them and they didn’t Have many roots on them and in two years It’s developed all this crazy amount of Roots and i’m not removing any roots at The moment all i’m doing is raking out The soil and untangling them Now there is part of me that sees these Long roots and i i’m going to cut them Shorter before i put them into this Little tiny pot because i don’t want

Them getting all tangled in there and It’s going to be a whole mess next time I go to repot the tree i’m just going to Cut this here there is this long Thick root that looks around in here i Don’t think the tree needs it so i’m Going to remove that That’s all it was remember it’s the thin Fine feeder roots that feed the tree the Thick roots don’t really do much and That’s all i’m going to take off And the soil type that i’m going to be Using today is a mix of hummus akadama Lava rock and compost I’m just taking some live sphagnum moss And mixing it with the soil Just to help vigorous root growth and Provide more moisture to the roots of The larch i’m actually going to take it And cut it up even finer so that it can Mix More evenly Although this is going into a training Pot the planting angle does kind of Matter because this is what determines Which way the branches grow towards the Sun At the angle it’s planted so i planted This way all the branches are going to Go that way if i plant it this way They’ll all grow that way if i want it This way they’ll come up this way so the Angle is kind of important i’m going to Have it like this for the front of the

Tree here So at this point because the tree’s in a Lighter pot i can left the tree look Underneath get at the areas that i Couldn’t before It’s starting to rain But i’ve cleaned up the trunk now as Best i could i guess the other pieces of Masking tape that’s still stuck on the Trunk with enough rain the weather will Just get it off that way now i want to Deal with the top of the tree because Right now it has no shape i want to give This tree a little wire and a first Styling just to get it on the right Track of becoming a really nice bonsai Because all these branches are quite Thin i’m going to be using one Millimeter and two and a half millimeter Bonsai wire i’m going to anchor this Wire to the trunk Just going to remove needles that’s a Lot lower down on the branches So it makes a little bit easier to wire So in this branch this one’s growing Quite low down so i’m going to remove That they’re growing on the underside of The branch so i’ll remove them You can shorten this one to here i’m Going to shorten this one to here and You see whenever i shorten it i can see Here on the large where there’s going to Be more branches developing from that Cut point

So i’ve wired this branch on this side Downwards and the same on this side but I’ve left the apex i’m going to show you Guys how i shape the apex as A lot of people can have trouble with Creating an apex on a bonsai so instead Of leaving this growing straight up i’m Going to tilt the top of the apex of the Tree to the side i’m just going to bend It downwards and then one of these Offshoots on the side of the branch then Will become the new apex of the tree That’s grown upwards that way i’m just Going to give this a little bit more Movement now rather than just push to The side and then from here i’m just Going to shorten a few more branches Cutting them back to some more shoots That’s going to grow from there And now i’ve finished the first styling Of this japanese large and i’m really Really happy with the result of how it Looks you can sort of see the triangular Shape just beginning to form on it now And i just know this time next year it’s Going to look a lot more bushy and then We can cut it back and keep developing It that way but the hard work’s done Which is being banned in the trunk and All that’s left now to do is give this Tree a water [Music] And there you guys have it that is just A few basic ways of bending the trunk of

A tree let me know in the comments what You guys think of the first styling of This and if you guys want to keep up to Date on the trees that i make Progression of them over time follow me On instagram i’ll leave a link to it in The description of this video and on That thank you so much for watching [Music] You

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