wiring a maple

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wiring a maple

Post  kingbean on Wed Jan 26, 2011 9:49 pm

Hello there,
Does anyone know the best way to wire a maple without damaging the delicate bark ?
Would it be best to use rafia ? and is it best carried out at winter time?
The tree is a mountain maple clump about 35 yrs.

kingbean
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Re: wiring a maple

Post  Orion on Wed Jan 26, 2011 9:53 pm

You could use coated copper wire that electricians use. They come in different guages, but it may seem a little funky with colored wire.

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Re: wiring a maple

Post  EdMerc on Wed Jan 26, 2011 9:58 pm

Orion wrote:You could use coated copper wire that electricians use.

That's not a good idea. That type of wire is not annealed and would be more likely to break all your branches than anything else. Do NOT use it.

Use aluminum wire and be careful. With practice you should not damage the bark very much if at all. But it takes practice.

Good luck,
Ed

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Re: wiring a maple

Post  Kev Bailey on Wed Jan 26, 2011 10:12 pm

Ed is correct. Careful wiring with aluminium won't damage the bark. Using the right wire thicknesses and application "tension" takes practice. Even more important is careful observation, to ensure that it doesn't bite in later and timely removal, just before it does!

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Re: wiring a maple

Post  Alain Bertrand on Thu Jan 27, 2011 6:18 am

You can wrap the wire with kitchen paper.

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Re: wiring a maple

Post  Jonny D on Thu Jan 27, 2011 10:02 am

Hi Kingbean,

Wiring maples is fine with aluminium wire; I've done it several times before. Just be careful, take your time and you should be fine.

The best time of year is late February but be careful of the buds. At this point of the year the sap is beginning to flow making the tree a bit more flexible but you can see what you are doing. I normally find that I think I only need to wire one or two branches and that leads me to wiring more as I then notice other changes that are then needed once I've moved them into position.

As a small tip if you are unsure what gauge of wire to use on a particular branch cut a small section of wire and push it gently against the branch in question if the wire bends you need a larger gauge of wire, if the branch is pushed downwards the wire will hold the branch. Be careful if you use this technique not to damage the bark (i.e.: don't push so hard that you push through the bark to the cambrium).

Hope it helps.

Jonny.

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Re: wiring a maple

Post  John Quinn on Thu Jan 27, 2011 4:26 pm

As a small tip if you are unsure what gauge of wire to use on a particular branch cut a small section of wire and push it gently against the branch in question if the wire bends you need a larger gauge of wire, if the branch is pushed downwards the wire will hold the branch.

That's a good hint, I use that technique myself. Maples grow very quickly so vigilance will be important to avoid scarring.

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Re: wiring a maple

Post  Neil Jaeger on Thu Jan 27, 2011 5:52 pm

EdMerc wrote:
Orion wrote:You could use coated copper wire that electricians use.

That's not a good idea. That type of wire is not annealed and would be more likely to break all your branches than anything else. Do NOT use it.

Use aluminum wire and be careful. With practice you should not damage the bark very much if at all. But it takes practice.

Good luck,
Ed

Can you use the electrical wire for other trees? Why not use the wire? And is annealed just mean softer?

Neil

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Re: wiring a maple

Post  Kev Bailey on Thu Jan 27, 2011 7:11 pm

Annealed copper wire bends once and then becomes work hardened. Un-annealed wire is already hard and will tend to break branches.

I favour wiring with aluminium from late spring to early summer after defoliating. Earlier, the rising sap makes them more brittle. You can wrap wire with raffia, paper strips or my favourite is masking tape. It still needs careful watching as scars form quickly and bark can easily be damaged removing bedded in wire.

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Re: wiring a maple

Post  Mike Jones on Thu Jan 27, 2011 7:40 pm

I've now virtually given up wiring in the Maple growing season. I simply cannot keep pace with growth and the biting in. Perhaps just me as I forget or cannot visibly see the wire, then it is a case of out of sight out of mind.

I've never covered the bark, I just carefully wire each branch. The only damage is the bite when forgotten.

I took to wiring from late November through to about Mid March (UK). They are under winter protection however to avoid the cold radiator effect and avoid dead branches. Works perfectly for me. The branches set very well. I also use weights if I need to drop a larger branch.

The exception to this is I will use a guy wire during the growing season, again to pull up or down a larger branch. I wrap the wire where it crosses or wraps around the branch with neoprene rubber tubing or use a rubber pad to prevent damage. I have found it does not take long to reset either.

Kev

I don't disagree with anything you said. I'm just offering a different choice that works for me. Smile

Mike

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Re: wiring a maple

Post  Kev Bailey on Thu Jan 27, 2011 7:53 pm

Mike, I agree that your approaches will work just as well and are probably more appropriate for someone who is not used to defoliation and how carefully they need watching.

Only one point I disagree with and that is the radiator effect you mention. It has been disproved. Despite logic, the wire actually acts as an insulator, if anything. Can't recall the paper, but it was a scientific study.

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Re: wiring a maple

Post  Mike Jones on Thu Jan 27, 2011 8:02 pm

That is heckish interesting Kev. I like the way you mention 'logic,' because even before I knew what I was doing (yeah right, who am I trying to kid:-) I often considered wire a danger to branches during freezing conditions.

In fact any evergreens I have that are not protected such as Cypress, Juniper, Pines, I always ensure wire is removed prior to the onset of winter.

I keep coming up with a myth. The last memorable one was me spouting out at as a speaker about the bad habits of mist watering foliage in brilliant sun. Of course I was saying this to avoid scorches forming on delicate leaves ... this so studies I have undertaken now consider it to be a complete inaccuracy of fact.

Notwithstanding of course I never advocate watering during full sun for other more obvious practical reasons .... it makes my glass of cooled Gin & Tonic warm up standing in said sun.

Looks like I must now study the effect of cold radiated to wired branches further.

Mike

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Re: wiring a maple

Post  Neil Jaeger on Thu Jan 27, 2011 8:20 pm

Kev Bailey wrote:Annealed copper wire bends once and then becomes work hardened. Un-annealed wire is already hard and will tend to break branches.

I favour wiring with aluminium from late spring to early summer after defoliating. Earlier, the rising sap makes them more brittle. You can wrap wire with raffia, paper strips or my favourite is masking tape. It still needs careful watching as scars form quickly and bark can easily be damaged removing bedded in wire.

The only reason i asked is i work with it all the time and ALOT goes to waste. So i was thinking of just use it for my "ruff" prebonsai (which is almost all my trees) Do you think that would be alright if im real careful? Thank you for your time.

Neil

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Re: wiring a maple

Post  Kev Bailey on Thu Jan 27, 2011 10:55 pm

No reason for it to go to waste. I use electrical wire a lot myself, I just anneal it. It's really simple. Either use a barbecue or a garden bonfire. Strip all the plastic off carefully with a sharp knife, coil the wire loosely and then throw it into the fire and leave until it is cherry red. Use tongs to lift it and drop into a bucket of water. Done.

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Re: wiring a maple

Post  Neil Jaeger on Fri Jan 28, 2011 1:30 am

Kev Bailey wrote:No reason for it to go to waste. I use electrical wire a lot myself, I just anneal it. It's really simple. Either use a barbecue or a garden bonfire. Strip all the plastic off carefully with a sharp knife, coil the wire loosely and then throw it into the fire and leave until it is cherry red. Use tongs to lift it and drop into a bucket of water. Done.

Great. Thanks for your time.

Neil

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Re: wiring a maple

Post  kingbean on Wed Feb 09, 2011 10:02 pm

Has anyone used bark protetion tape on maple or does anyone recomend it ?

kingbean
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Re: wiring a maple

Post  paulf on Mon Feb 21, 2011 7:57 pm

A lot can be achieved with maples using weights. Especially useful for placing those soft early season shoots before they set in place. I use loops of soldering wire to weigh Down the shoots and young branches. Later on I also use some weights to supplement the lead wire.

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Re: wiring a maple

Post  kingbean on Mon Feb 21, 2011 8:18 pm

Thanks paulf are you with any bonsai clubs other than this one ?

kingbean
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Re: wiring a maple

Post  Mike Jones on Mon Feb 21, 2011 8:37 pm

Completely agree with Paulf. Fishing weights are also good for this purpose.

Mike

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Re: wiring a maple

Post  paulf on Mon Feb 21, 2011 9:22 pm

King,

I am a member of the bonsai group in cape manor. But my wretched job doesn't allow me to get there very often.

I get a lot of information from blogs. Various books. I also have some bonsai today magazines which have some great information.

Paul

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Re: wiring a maple

Post  kingbean on Tue Feb 22, 2011 5:25 pm

ok have you had any workshops with anyone ?

kingbean
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Re: wiring a maple

Post  paulf on Tue Feb 22, 2011 9:41 pm

A few workshops at clubs - Mostly those horrible forest planting demos.

For the species I work with I buy cheap nursery plants to learn with. I find working with my own cheap plants at home I learn a lot more about how to cultivate them.

Perhaps one of the bonsai nurseries nearby does courses?

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Re: wiring a maple

Post  kingbean on Tue Feb 22, 2011 10:07 pm

A few do but there not cheap and if you want a proper workshop you have to travel or
Pay for someone to come to you and none of this is cheap. bonsai is quite an expensive hobby if you
Let yourself get hooked.
I had my first workshop at herons bonsai in surrey which I enjoyed very much this was five years ago now.

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Re: wiring a maple

Post  Guest on Tue Feb 22, 2011 10:19 pm

paulf wrote:A few workshops at clubs -

For the species I work with I buy cheap nursery plants to learn with. I find working with my own cheap plants at home I learn a lot more about how to cultivate them.

Couldn't agree more Paul. Getting stuck into cheap nursery material was the way I learned. This gives you the confidence and technique to work on more expensive material.

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Re: wiring a maple

Post  kingbean on Tue Feb 22, 2011 10:27 pm

Yes that is the best way to learn most of my trees are my work accept for one or two.

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