Aluminum Wire gauge for seedlings?

BonsaiNaga13

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I previously bought a "beginner bonsai kit" off Amazon that came with 3 guages of copper wire. I think 1 millimeter 2 mil and 3 mil. Those lasted me about 3 years. This year I have a lot of young seedlings from this years crop that are ready to wire and to save some $ I'm wanting to get some aluminum wire. Wondering what's the best gauge of aluminum wire for seedlings. Mostly Japanese maple, some trident, and some Chinese elm.
 

HorseloverFat

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Depends on the age and tissue “habits” of the seedling.
Acer and Ulmus will both bend.. just differently.. even “differently” within the species.. but not much of that matters if the seedlings are real young...

I don’t wire seedlings real tight, Just loosely cage and direct the growth.. so just thin wire! Haha! What you are comfortable with,. My favorite for seedlings is wire like this. Cheap stuff.

3B01483F-1EDA-4645-9243-8062658D880B.jpeg
 

Shibui

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@HorseloverFat has drawn just a bit faster this time.
'Seedlings' vary from person to person and species to species so wire is going to depend on how thick and stiff your seedlings are.
For soft flexible seedlings the thinnest wire should do. If a single wire does not hold shape run a second but don't tell the bonsai enforcement bureau.
 

Mr GeaRbOx

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As already stated, a lot will depend on person to person and on species. For me, I use grafting tape to attach the seedling to the wire as opposed to wrapping it the traditional way. (placed parallel to the trunk like when staking a tree, but wrapped all the way not just a few points) so anything over 1mm works for my technique. For the traditional technique, I'd say 1 and 2mm should be good.
 

BonsaiNaga13

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I asked cuz I'm about to order some and a lil short on cash so I cant order the 3 smallest gauges plus I heard aluminum doesn't hold as well as copper which I have mild experience with lol. Think I'll go with 1.5 mil. I'm pretty diligent at unwinding before the wire bites in.
 

River's Edge

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I asked cuz I'm about to order some and a lil short on cash so I cant order the 3 smallest gauges plus I heard aluminum doesn't hold as well as copper which I have mild experience with lol. Think I'll go with 1.5 mil. I'm pretty diligent at unwinding before the wire bites in.
I would suggest 2mm or 2.5 mm. Aluminum is easy to straighten and reuse so if it is a bit thicker than needed you will be able to reuse it as the plants grow. 1.5 is relatively limited in strength and holding power.
 

SeanS

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I typically wire seedlings in the first year during their first season. At that time, 1mm works fine.
I’ve found 1mm works well too when seedlings are a few months old. If 1mm is sufficient, 2mm will sometimes damage the seedling while just winding it on, so my suggestion is if you can’t buy a large assortment of gauges get the thinnest that will work instead of getting thicker wire with the intention of it being “more versatile”. Hope that makes sense.

I’ve gotten some wild shapes into 0-6 month old trident seedlings with 1mm.
 

Wires_Guy_wires

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I've been playing around with 1mm steel wire and it cuts in too fast, same for copper wire although it's easier to remove. 1.5-2mm alu wire can be left on for way longer and it's pretty easy to remove and reuse.
As for the strength, it doesn't seem to matter much as long as the wood is thinner than a regular pencil.
 

Forsoothe!

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If you can only afford one, 1.5mm is easier to make wire cages than 1.0mm, and 1.0 does cut in quicker. You can make 1.5 cages that are large enough to leave on longer and still control direction of growth.
 
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