Can Bonsai Wire Be Reused?

Mar 28th, 2010 | By | Category: Bonsai How To, Featured Articles, Wiring

Bonsai Wire
As our bonsai trees grow, the branches slowly increase in size. Any wire on the branches of our bonsai trees can become tight, and as it does, mark the bark. In severe cases, the wires may have dug deep into the branches and cause permanent scars. While light markings will grow out in a year or two, heavy markings can be permanent. In order to avoid these ugly wire marks on our bonsai trees, we should check the wires wound on our bonsai trees regularly and remove them before they have a chance to dig into the bark.

While most of the bonsai websites I have visited so far say “no” to reusing bonsai wire and recommend that the wire be removed by cutting each turn with some wire cutters, I don’t hold my ground strongly against the reusing of bonsai wire. I unwind and reuse my bonsai wire, but I only do so when it is safe for my bonsai trees. This means that the wire must not have bitten into the bark, and the branch must be strong and healthy. In addition, it is much easier to unwind wires safely on thick branches than thin ones. Do not try to unwind the wire if the wire has already bitten deep into the branch. In this case, we should use our wire cutters.

Moreover, above suggestions only apply to aluminum bonsai wire. Do not bother to unwind copper wire as it is impossible to remove kinks from it once it is bent and becomes hard. Always remove copper wires with wire cutters.

Either we reuse our bonsai wire or not, checking the bonsai wires wound on our bonsai trees regularly is the best thing we can do for our trees. Like unwinding bonsai wire, using a wire cutter to remove bonsai wire can be dangerous too if the wire has dug very deep into the bark or if we are just not being careful enough.

4 Comments to “Can Bonsai Wire Be Reused?”

  1. Sensei says:

    I personally have never reused bonsai wire – however, I have considered it on multiple occasions. My suggestion is to make sure the wire is sanitized before you use it again. Consider using some rubbing alcohol and allowing the wire to thoroughly dry before using it on a different Bonsai. Let us know how it goes!

  2. alon says:

    Hi Sandy,

    I totally agree with everything you said in this post. it is very nice to read such things – stick to the truth !
    and also with sensei about sanitizing the reused wire

    alon

  3. Cheryl says:

    I have inherited a bonsai from a friend relocating to another country and have noticed that wiring on the tree has become deeply embedded in the branches. I was able to unwind some of it, but in spots it is so deeply embedded I think I can not remove without causing damage to the branch. Should I remove the segments I have been able to unwind, and leave the other?
    Thank you,
    Cheryl

  4. Sandy Sandy says:

    Hi Charyl,

    This is difficult for me to say since I have never seen your bonsai and I don’t fully know your intention of keeping the bonsai. If you are serious in growing a beautiful bonsai, a “perfect” one, then I would suggest you to cut all the branches that have wires embedded deeply. Even if you unwind the wires, these branches have been damaged so bad that they won’t be fully recovered and will have scars left behind. If you are growing this bonsai more for casual fun, for having more greens in your place, then I would suggest you to leave the deeply embedded ones alone and unwind those wires that are not yet embedded too deeply.

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