My bending failure for your amusement

Hello Mirai world! This is my first post. I thought I’d bare my soul and share a recent failure to break the ice. I’ll attach a video of the failure for your amusement. Pause here and watch it before continuing.

Now here’s the backstory for how this happened:

I bought some nursery stock and did my best to vet it for interesting features prior. I saw some potential in the trunk, but I couldn’t get down far enough to see the base. It seemed like there was a thick trunk hidden down deep that split off into two trunks though. When I got it back home I realized it was two different trees planted close together, however. As I was assessing this I split them apart. Then I started having issues with the one shown here because I couldn’t anchor it to work on it properly anymore; it needed some significant bending.

The root ball was pretty tiny, and I was struggling to get a thick gauge wire started on it without it being firmly held down. I eventually was able to come up with a plan, albeit an imperfect one. I potted it and anchored a bending wire to the bottom of my bot with my tie down wires. The largest gauge I could fit through my screen for this was 12 gauge though… too small for the girth of the trunk.

So… I did my best with the 12 gauge, and it didn’t work out. I put some cut past on it and wrapped it in parafilm and then I styled the rest of it for funsies. I was shooting for making it look sort of like a ballerina. I’ll keep caring for it, but I’m pretty sure it’s not gonna make it.

My question to you fine folks is what would you have done in this situation?

1 Like

I think given the situation and your question I have two main thoughts. First I would suggest putting heavier wire on next time. Always go heavier rather than lighter when in doubt.
Secondly, when you are trying to get a really big bend you could have used raffia prior to wire install to help protect the tearing that might take place. Where region do you live in? its also not the ideal time to do heavy bending in a good amount of the country and world.
you live and learn and fortunately you learned on a nursery stock. Hope you continue to learn as you go. Bonsai on!

Thank you for the suggestion on raffia. I did have thicker wire, and I wanted to use it, but I just couldn’t figure out a good way to anchor it down to anything; and if I left it unanchored and just wrapped it around the trunk, I feel like it would have just spun as I tried to bend the trunk. I am in Florida.

To bend the trunk, I generally anchor the wire in the soil as deeply as possible. If possible I push the end into a corner. I have also pushed it through a drainage hole and bent it over along the bottom of the pot. Sometimes it can be quite difficult to get it well anchored as you have noted.

Thanks for the comment Marty. Anchoring to the soil was not possible in this case as the root mass was very small and most of the soil was new and loose. Glad to hear someone else has used the drainage hole method. In my case, I limited my choice in wire diameter to the mesh I was using for my drainage hole. Perhaps I should have cut out a quad in my mesh to allow myself to stick a much thicker wire through the drainage hole for anchoring…