Unwiring branches

I think I heard Ryan say in one of the videos (can’t remember which) that we un-wire, and don’t cut off the wire. Is that right? and if so, is there a video showing how/ tips on not damaging the tree etc.?

Good luck trying to un wire copper. I would definitely cut copper off. However aluminium is possible to un wire, but to be honest and maybe I am old school but I would always cut wire off, I find it’s just a better way to avoid damage to the tree

Somewhere he has mentioned if you are to unwire you need to support the branches the same as you would when wiring to prevent damage. I agree with others that I would cut large gauges and copper.

I may be mistaken, but I am pretty sure Ryan and most all teachers/practitioners will tell you to cut the wire. Un-wiring ( doesn’t even SOUND like a good thing :wink: ) is too hard on the branches. In any case, the wire ( aluminum or copper) won’t be re-usable. Get a good wire cutter designed for bonsai if you can - I found it is more precise, easier.


If you leav wire on too long and vascular tissue begins to “eat” it, then you will have to unwind it. Also, if you are using very thin wire on skinny growth it may be easier to unwind.
I think the question to ask is “what technique will cause the least damage to the tree?”


You have a good point there, @AndyK

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Unwiring Copper is the only way to go. He even alluded to unwiring recently by saying that’s why we unwire rather than cut, so that little bits don’t get left on the tree.

I can’t imagine trying to un wire copper. It goes really hard. Clarification needed Ryan​:grinning::grinning::grinning:

You get a pair of jin pliers and roll it as you twist it off the tree. I unwired (half) a large hinoki wired by one of Mirai’s student’s earlier this spring. I think I’ve got the wire laying around somewhere actually.

While we are on unwireing, who recycles?
Copper especially is not cheap. I know Ryan likes to leave a length for leaverage when it goes on, but I feel physical pain when he cuts a foot off and chucks it on the floor.
It has however been mentioned that I am a bit tight. More than once I have tried to wire a branch, only to find I have been too stingy and not cut off enough!

My wiring improved tremendously when I stopped being a tightwad.


I always recycle my removed copper wire and scraps. Ryan recycles as well.

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We don’t do anything before asking ourselves what are we trying to accomplish and how do we accomplish that the most effective way. Unwiring branches is a perfectly acceptable approach, as is cutting wire off. What’s the better of the two in the scenario you’re in? That’s the question I’d ask myself before I jumped into the work.