Wiring Bonsai Tree Pines to Create Shape

I take some field grown very, straight Pines and create something a bit more interesting by splitting the trunk of the tree and shaping with wire.

The results are quite different to the start.

Looking at these bright blue skies lovely sunshine you think that all is well with the world and that we have lovely weather in england but only six hours ago we had a great big storm the storm was so fierce that lots of the things got blown over i’ve just been walking around the nursery putting back the tall trees that great big pine was blown off the plinth and many of these other trees were blown blown over this one has fallen from the top onto this so let me put this back amazing a pot that weighs about 10 or 15 kilograms got blown over but not all is bad let’s be grateful for what we can enjoy this beautiful sunshine and because it’s so quiet on the nursery i’m going to do a bit of self videoing today and i always love working on pines so i was walking around the nursery and i found a few pines so i’m going to do some self videoing at the back of the nursery so i’ll take you there and show you what i will be doing today let me begin you by showing this lovely little fellow i put it on my facebook and instagram page this is one of the fun mud men that one of our staff made and he’s looking very full on i call it the mud man or the snowman he’s wearing his little flowerpot hat and he’s waiting for the snow but that is just a distraction what i’m going to work on are these several pints that i’ve taken out from the field we have all these straggly pines that grow on the nursery and unlike other commercial nurseries i go to a lot of commercial nurseries where they grow conifers and all sorts of trees and the object in those nurseries is to grow everything fast so a tree like that they could probably get in about three maybe even less than that three years they can get a pine like that but these trees believe it or not are probably 10 or 12 years old i keep cutting it i never let it grow tall they are constantly cut and the side branches are grown as the leader like this one you see i’ve cut it there and i keep cutting it so they never grow tall and this one i’ve had the wires on for years and years and now is the time to take it off and this is a bovine answer spine in fact they are all bover nancy’s pine bouven nancy’s pine is my favorite pine if you work out to come to the nursery you’ll find that there are bovenensis pines all over the place so just on this bench alone there are six bhuvanensis points of different ages and again as i said we cut it and then keep it short but despite keeping it short they are still nevertheless tall and what can we do with it let’s see what we can do so let’s begin well it’s been a while since i did self videoing so i hope it comes out all right i’m wearing my mic so hopefully the sound should be okay and i’m still sporting this christmas shirt which one of my staff presented to me so let’s enjoy the rest of the christmas while we have a few days left now this bouvarenas pine was cut there and a side branch grew there so already it’s a natural literati but i don’t like the very straight formation of the trunk here these two bits like a 90 degrees bend is not exactly pleasing so what will we do the natural thing is to give it a bit of a twist so let’s see what i can do and as always i like to use recycled wire i should mention that whenever we take the wire of trees unlike some other teachers who teach you they teach you to just cut the wire for fear of damaging the trunk or the twigs or whatever but there’s no reason why you should not be able to unwind the wire and use it again i hate waste so this is i think three and a half mil wire i will see if it bends if it doesn’t bend then i can put a thicker wire or do a double so here i am again what i’ve done so far is to put a piece of wire on the trunk i’ve also split the trunk using the trunk splitter and i’ve applied a few bits of wire to the top i was rummaging around for some old wire that i have in the scrap heap and you know me by now i hate waste so i’m always on the lookout for using recycled wire so here i am trying to complete the wiring process i don’t often like to show everything because i’m always conscious that it can be very tedious and boring for people i know that you console me and say that it’s not boring but i feel that it can be boring but like all these neuromuscular tasks there is nothing like repetition repetition makes for perfection i always like to use the analogy of swimming for little bits of swimming that i always used to do i was always told that there’s nothing like repetition endless drills on and on and on just keep on doing it so with trees like this where there’s a lot of detail you literally have to wire every single twig and branch so let me find some fine wire always use the right grade of wire don’t take shortcuts just because you don’t have a particular grade don’t force the tree to do something which might damage it like if you used very thick wire i’m using here now one mil or even 0.8 mil i think this is on these very thin twigs if you’re not careful and you thick wire you will damage it i’m trying to lay the pads flat a question that sometimes is asked of me by the youtube is that can you work on trees or why are the trees throughout the year and the answer is yes just don’t do radical things like severe repotting or root pouring right in the middle of a very cold spell if there’s freezing conditions then don’t do it leave it well alone but don’t do repotting till very near spring we usually start in february because in england in february it’s already getting a bit mild the worst of the winter is over and by the way today if today is the 27th of december the daylight is getting longer so we’ve had the shortest day which was the 21st so there’s always optimism the days are getting brighter and soon the winter will be over and with all this gloom and doom of the covid and let’s hope the covid would be nice those of you who have been following my youtube videos will remember that i had all these plans for that great big meet on the 21st of june of this year 2020 and of course nothing happened to it because as we say the best laid plans of mice and men come to know this is robert burns’s uh quotation from his scottish poem but i think the scottish poem doesn’t sound like this but this is something we’ve got to remind ourselves i suppose however much we plan you can’t really override circumstances whether it is the old man up there who decides it or acts of nature acts of god you just got to accept it and live life as it comes your way and fortunately the bonsai helps so many people have told me that via facebook facebook through the youtube videos that you found it very satisfying to be doing bonsai keeping you sane so i hope i’ve done something useful in life and that is to keep you guys sane and happy during this lock down this pandemic and i’m sure better times will come and i’m certainly looking forward to that meanwhile we get on with the bonsai i think plants are more resilient than human beings they do suffer from a disease and blights but not in the same way that the human race has suffered this year when you think that the human race could have been wiped out so this literature i’m trying to make it tighter i don’t want it too spread out as it is it’s a very tall tree and the top i can put a little more wire to see if that can improve it a little bit we are fortunate in the tempered countries with our conifers because the conifers lend themselves to the literary styles i’ve seen some people struggle in warm countries like india and indonesia where they don’t have pines they have the cashew arena but the cashew arena does not have the same characteristics of our pines our pines are so suitable for doing literati style so this put in a drum pot i have some small drum pots i will show you the potting later and that’s all i’ve done a single piece of wire on the trunk and i did split it and there you are this tree is quite presentable so i will now move on to the next one as i always say trees are very much like human beings every tree is different just as every human being is different every tree is different it may be the same species but they’re all different so this was quite different from the previous one and i mentioned earlier that we always take the leading shootout so that was done years ago bhuvanensis by the way are all grafted trees and for those of you who are not conversing with horticulture let me explain to you what the graft is because pooh variances do not come true to seed they have to be grafted and that is the graft union there they are grafted onto scots points so these are grafted onto this uh it’s a tedious process not many people like to do it and when i’ve finished with the present crop of bhuvanensis i’m not sure how i can get more because people don’t like grafting anymore it is not economic it is a very long tedious job so let’s see what we can do with this so because it’s quite stiff it’s only the size of my small finger let’s split the trunk and using the trunk splitter i will split it all the way from the bottom and take it all the way to the top trunk splitting has the advantage of not just making the trunk more bendable but when that cut that you make with the trunk splitter heels it makes the bark look craggy so i’ve split the trunk all the way from there up to there and into this fork as well so i’m going to use recycled wire i never tire of showing what i do when i recycle wire sometimes if it’s thin enough i can just pull it through a piece of wood and straighten it if not just straighten it with a pair of gin pliers there are all sorts of tricks to straighten wire so another bit of wire saved avoid filling the landfill now i stick it in the soil and i’m going to wrap it really really tight around the trunk this by the way is i think only three and a half mil wire and let’s see if it does the job i always say don’t despair if it doesn’t do it you can always put a thicker piece of wire or put another piece of water when it comes to the top let’s take any of the shoots and i will deal with the other one in due course the reason why i’m trying to bend it tight is because these lanky pines uh only lend themselves to literati but if i want to make a small squat looking pine like some of the japanese white pines that are produced commercially i want to bend the trunk more so that it is more compact so you can see straight away i’ve made it more compact by bending it like this let’s get a pot to stand it in i’m very fond of using these japanese training pots not for training the trees but i use it as a prop like this i can prop it up at the correct angle so that i know what i’m doing so that’s become quite a compact squat looking point and this which was the other fork can become a branch there so let’s proceed to do that again i’ve managed to find some recycled wire so i’m going to go up the trunk and go to that branch okay let’s start from here i always place the wire so that i can get the right direction like this one if i’m going to do a double i want the wire to do that if you can see let me bring it closer because i’m self videoing i want the wire to do that go like that i don’t want it to cross to crisscross the wire so that’s what we do so when you do your wiring always think beforehand how you are going to proceed because that determines whether the wire is neat or not neat the secret of good wiring is neatness if you can get your wiring to look neat then your bonsai will look neat i’m cutting out all the little dead little stubby bits because that will inhibit or come in the way of wiring and i can’t emphasize the importance of having the gin pliers because the gin pliers helps you to tidy up the ends now i can go easily that way now let me cut the wire off rather than flick this long bit of wire around now here i’ve got three branches so i don’t know i’ll keep it i won’t cut it off away in case i need to use it for making the pad more interesting or making the pad more full i’m just cutting off all these dead little twigs which come in the way of wiring and when i approach the end i invariably use the gin pliers to tidy up the end the end of the wire is very hard to bend with ordinary fingers especially if you use thickish wire but the gin pliers makes it easier so here we are so i’m just looking to why everything that i can see that is wireable every pair of branches never never forget to match the pairs two branch principle every time never take shortcuts this year i’ve had the pleasure of doing several zoom workshops with people and i’ve enjoyed doing that very much so if you would like to do a zoom workshop you can always get in touch with me i do it more for the love of doing it than for anything else i like to see how people are getting on and i like to encourage people in what they do and i’m very very encouraged to see so many young people being interested in bonsai i never thought that was the case because when you go around the clubs it’s all always the old people you seldom find people under the age of 35 who are interested in bonsai usually they’re very old people and that is not good for the pastime because if it’s all old people you don’t you don’t get young blood coming in so that’s a good sign and long may it continue now this one is hanging down i don’t need it so let’s get rid of it anything hanging down or propping up if you can wire it flat that’s fine but if it can’t can’t be wired then get rid of it there’s some more branches there so i said every single branch that is wireable just wire it and you’ll be surprised what lovely results you get so there you are in case you think that all i can ever do is literature with these points i’ve just done a classic informal upright and if i now feed it heavily i can get the trunk to thicken and i’ll keep this pine this height and that’s a very nice bend in the trunk without being severely contorted i will pot these all up and i will show you the end result of all these trees so that’s another one done now number three is this one as i said to you most of the pines including the bhuvanensis tend to be lanky trees and these lower branches have died let me just show you how this tree has been developed oh by the way this is a good time to talk about mycelium all pines have this white fungus here and if you’ve not listened to what i’ve said before in previous videos with pines and beech you get this fungus called mycelium also referred to as microriser look up google or wikipedia you can find out about it it’s a beneficial fungus that grows with pines and the sign of a healthy pine is that you should have a lot of mycelium in it and again this is a grafted tree the graft is over here and the lower branches have died and it’s grown tall as most spines tend to do now these little bits i don’t see the need for making gins this tree was cut there long long back and this side shoot became the top if i cut it there these will develop but i won’t cut it more because there is potential in it so when you come across pines like this very often if you uh go walking around the countryside you do come across these little points like this but they’re usually very straggly but if you grow them in a pot and keep it in a pot you will get the results like this it doesn’t take long to uh develop a point like this so what can i do with this again i don’t think i can make it into an s shape i could but i don’t think i can get an informal upright tree because they’re not enough low branches there so i’m going to do quite an interesting hopefully literature with it as always with pines and other conifers i like to split the trunk because by splitting the trunk you will be able to get much more interesting bends the tree becomes more bendable and when this cut that you make heals it makes the bark look old aside from the branch cutter the scissors gin pliers the next most important tool is the branch splitter a branch splitter is an extremely useful tool it helps you bend thick trunks which if you had not split would be more difficult to bend not impossible to bend but more difficult to bend so i know this is a tedious task going all the way up the trunk i don’t often show everything because i think it can be boring although many of you try to console me and tell me that it’s not boring okay now this is less than a quarter inch thick and i’m still splitting it but it still makes it more bendable okay that’s enough the rest of the tree is very healthy so let’s see what we can do to bend it and for a trunk this thick i think i need to use maybe like three and a half mil wire i may even use two coils of that there is a theory that is around that says that if you use two coils of a slightly thinner gauge that can be more effective than using a single thick piece of wire that is true to some extent but in this case i think i will use a thick wire all the way up to there so here we go wrap it really really tight no point keeping it loose it needs to be tight as tight as you can get it okay so let’s see what we can do i’m trying to coil it like i stir a pot this action stirring action and you notice that i always or i do coil anti-clockwise and the stirring of the pot is also anti-clockwise if it is very difficult don’t press your luck you might split the trunk so that’s as far as it will go i’ve managed to get a very tight bend here i can even bend it this way so that looks interesting and let me put it in this japanese training pot to get the right sort of angle i now regret having cut the wire off prematurely but no matter i will extend that i will just show you what i can do because this is a situation where you often come across i will just show you how the splitting works you can see that it does part the the trunk but it won’t kill it can you see how it’s splitted then it will heal i’ve got this very interesting then i want to bend it back this way so i’ve got here now two and a half mil wide that was i think three and a half mill wire so i’m going to take it all the way to the top and how am i going to do this i will use the two branch principle like so i’m going to link it to this branch here and then go to the top just make sure i can get all the way to the top and i follow the path of the existing wire so that it looks neat and then take it out onto this branch here they say the pine is an acquired taste when i first started in bonsai i never did appreciate pines and most people regard pines it’s just bottled brushes in it if you know what a bottle brush is this little tassel like brush that you use for cleaning feeding bottles and never look very interesting but the way the needles point upwards is so delightful now what do i do with this punch this is very low so i shouldn’t be greedy i can’t use everything let’s get rid of that one so this one has been wired using two branch principle now these two can be wired so we’ll proceed to wire everything that is wireable so now i’m going to use uh 1 mil water [Music] for those of you who live in the uk or in europe you’ll discover that bhuvanensis is almost impossible to obtain it is one of those trees that were produced mainly for bonsai enthusiasts there was one or two uh growers in the uk that used to produce conifer groceries not bonsai growers who used to grow bovenensis but many of them sadly have passed away so you will not find bhuvanensis easily available i can say that with almost certainty if anyone knows where they can get it please let me know but as far as i know bhuvanensis is almost extinct as a variety commercially in nurseries there is a variety called water eye pioneer sylvester’s water eye named after the famous uh nursery called waters which used to be in twyford in berkshire but water eye is not the same as bhuvanese a very straight habit tree now this again has come out different as i say every tree that you make will be different it is never the same that is the beauty of bonsai as i say very similar to human beings no two trees are the same we all have our differences with pines you’ve got to be careful with the wire biting if you don’t want it to bite you’ve got to really keep a close eye on it in the middle of summer when the trees are growing strongly that’s the time when the wire can bite you must be wondering how far am i going to take the wiring let me just see many people i find are afraid to what we call bite the bullet and take the leader off now i’m just looking at this spine and i realized that if i didn’t do anything you can end up with growing the leader on and on and on till it reaches the sky you don’t want that situation you certainly don’t want that situation so for my money i can either terminate the tree there or bring it down on itself i don’t want it to keep going upwards so as a compromise i’m going to i could easily cut it off here if i wanted to i can cut the tree off there and don’t let it go more than that that is also possible in fact why don’t i do that rather than let’s do that you see it’s made it more compact so cut that leaving chute off so that’s another literary quite quite different from the other ones so i’m going to pop these up and i will show you the end result when i’ve potted them so that is number three now this bhuvanensis is very very unusual in that it has quite a few branches that are relatively low down not low low but certainly lower than most others so rather than keep making them tall trees let’s see if i can make this slightly shorter i’m just taking the growing tips out of all these branches and let’s see what we can achieve and because these trees have been growing in these pots for so long i find that there are all sorts of strange things growing this the mycelium again and there are some acorns we have a lot of squirrels on the nursery and they bury the acorns look at that acorn there and a little oak tree grows up twin trunk oak i’m gonna keep this because i don’t waste anything that’ll become a small mommy bonsai so what will we do with this again i think i can bend the trunk more and make it a more squat looking tree so again i will split the trunk i won’t show you the entire process because i don’t want to take up valuable time so what i’m going to do is simply use the trunk splitter from the bottom all the way up to the top i’m going to split it all the way so i finished splitting the trunk i split the trunk on here to there and i will see if i can get a bit of a bend even if it is a slight bend it will help so to try and bend the trunk i will try and use some really heavy gauge wire and i think i only need to use it for part of the trunk that means from here to there okay now let’s wrap this wire this this i think is four and a half mil wire i know it’s not going to go all the way to the top but i’m going to wipe many at the base because that’s where i want the bend to take place now let’s see what happens it may bend or it may not bend sometimes you mustn’t force it because i’ve seen situations where you use very thick wire and bend it you can get a bend but it breaks the trunk or it kills the top of the tree so the purpose of bending the trunk is to make the tree shorter because you don’t want every tree to be ever so tall and lanky so you can see i’m getting more of a bend in it so i get more or less in s shape i’m trying to bend all the branches so i’m wiring them all so bear with me if i may have to not show everything i’m just going to wire every single branch i’ve now wired these two branches these two branches apart from the trunk so let’s see what i can make of that i want to make the front or the wing side so that the bend in the trunk is most noticeable but let’s just bend everything and see what happens i know that the trunk is relatively thin compared to the height of the tree but i can’t do much about it but let’s see i’ll do the best i can continue wiring i’m not too worried about the trunk not being thick because i know that with pines if i feed it correctly it will thicken in due course and then the rest is going to be wiring these straggly shoots flat so that again flat pants again that’s not a procedure i’m going to video because it’s going to be very tedious it’s going to be very long process so i’ll show it to you when i’ve completed it but you can see i’ve now managed to get that very straight looking trunk into some sort of s shape let me get you the best view so let’s come back to this tree and you can see that we’re getting there i’ll just point out something which i’ve done to this tree i’ll just switch the view i’m now going to show you some detail now this tree has got like a twin leader i’m going to use that to the best effect i’m not going to take it down but meanwhile these lower branches i’m inclined to use this as the front because it looks quite nice and i can make it lean towards me like so so if you look at the tree from every side i know that whoever is going to have this tree will decide what is the front what is the back but what i’ve done is zigzag the branches so that they’re not going straight out you see that long branch has gone from there and it’s doubled back on itself all these little branches have doubled back on itself so by doubling back on itself you can shorten the branches quite considerably so i hope you can see how i’ve wired the pad in fact this tree looks nice from virtually every side but i’m still in trying to use this as the possible front so we’re not finished with it i will show you it again sometimes in realities for some reason the camera doesn’t do it justice it’s much better in real life than on the camera i’ll continue wiring there’s more wiring to be done to the apex of the tree there’s a double apex there which is a problem i’m going to deal with that and i’ll explain to you when i’ve decided what to do with it so let me explain to you what i’ve decided to do so this is the front of the tree i’ve decided to keep this at the front so i have these two branches i know that some of you will criticize me for having bar branches this is called a bar branch handlebar branch this and that but without it the tree will look a bit bare if i were to cut one of them off and because i want a nice dense crown i’m going to cut something off from here this one here i’m going to cut off and i’m going to wire these branches back to make it tight okay so i will show you what i’m going to do with that so i’ve cut that leading chute out and i’m going to bend these two branches back to make it tight so let’s do a bit of that it’s amazing what you can do with wire so let’s do some more wiring here i’m now going to show you what i am going to do about the repotting a tree like this can go either in a rectangular pot or my favorite dumb drum pots this pot really is a bit large but for the sake of the tree and because i’m wanting to develop it further and to get the trunk to thicken i’m going to put it in this pot this pot is not too bad because this length of the pot certainly is okay it’s just that it’s a shade deep but as i say as a temporary pot this should be fine as a general rule the way i choose the pot is that the longest dimension of the pot should be about two-thirds of the height of the tree so that is the way i normally judge it so either this one or that one would be okay i think this one is better so i will use this one so i’ll get my colleague josh to put this up now let’s look at the other one now this one this literati tall slim literati like this this is a form of mica pot i can get it into that but it might be a bit uh top heavy for this little tree so i will think again and find another pot but while i’m talking let me just show you this one this one is okay i think this one could go in this pot again it looks a bit small but this one could possibly go into this part this would be very nice this ceramic pot at that angle so i would choose this one and we did another one which is like a semi uh train in formal upright for that tree i think that pot is too large you look at it look at it from the side it looks a bit large so let’s see what temporary pot i can get it into we’re lucky we have so many pots that we can choose what we like uh training pots and these trees are still in training that pot i think would be a bit too small because bear in mind that i want to grow it on to get a much thicker trunk let me just see choosing a pot can be quite a long-winded process but i think the size of the pot is very important now for a training pot i think that would be okay that seems okay this is a bit small this is okay and this is too large so this will go into this one again at that angle you see the angle of planting is so crucial if you plant it like this it doesn’t look quite right if you plant it like this it’s perfect so the angle of planting is very important and so we still have this one to contend with so as i said if this is too small this is not bad but i think we will go for a slightly larger one that would fit so we found pots for all four of them and then when we’ve potted them up i will show you the pictures again so this is the largest of the boudinances pines and although i prefer this as the front now i can’t really get the beautiful curve using that as the front but anyway it’s in a wrong pot whoever has the streak and choose whichever front they wish but it’s still quite a nice tree and once the trunk thickens it’d be very nice lovely conical shape so that is the first one let’s show you them all in different sizes this is the other one in its nice literary type pot and because it’s in a round pot it can be used in whatever way you wish it to be and then there are a couple more now this is the informal upright one and this is also very nice nice conical shape i think you appreciate the change when we compare it with the original state of the tree so that is one and then if we can now have that really straight ugly one which is now a tall slim literacy next hopefully these pads will bulk up and it’ll look quite nice so there you go four lovely pines that we’ve made there are more to come [Music] you

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