Bonsai wire rust: harmful?

andrewbels

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Hi all,

I purchased annealed wire based on a beginner's book I received, but, just a few weeks after wiring, the wire is rusting...

Is this rust harmful to the tree?

Thanks,
Andrew
 

hemmy

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Are you saying the copper wire oxidized to blue green color? Do you live next to the ocean? I’ve never seen copper oxidize that fast. It should have no negative impact other than asthetic.
 

hemmy

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Depends on the type of metal.
Excluding toxicity of metals in contact with roots. Is there any metals toxicity that could come from a wire (of any type) in contact with branches? An extreme case would be cadmium wire! (Meant as science-y question, not sarcastic-y)
 

andrewbels

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The packaging only says "annealed wire"... does not say steel, aluminum, etc.

The wire is black, though, so not copper. Wire is still black, but with the typical orange rust forming in some parts.

Wire is not in contact with roots and I avoid water hitting the wire while watering.
 

Dav4

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The packaging only says "annealed wire"... does not say steel, aluminum, etc.

The wire is black, though, so not copper. Wire is still black, but with the typical orange rust forming in some parts.

Wire is not in contact with roots and I avoid water hitting the wire while watering.
Pictures, please
 

Leo in N E Illinois

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Iron is a needed plant nutrient, if the roots absorb a little, no problem, some bonsai artists (Japanese old timers mostly) put a loose rusty nail or two in every pot to make sure iron is available to their trees.

Copper is also a needed plant nutrient, though needed in very small amounts. I have never had a problem with any copper. If what you are calling ''rust'' is more black than any other color, it could be left over carbon ash from burning off the insulation that may have been on the copper wire. Not a big deal at all.

Aluminum wire has an oxidized coating, aluminum is a ''self protecting metal'' and will shed very little if any at all of its oxide coating. And seems pretty inert if it gets into the soil.
 

Kendo

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Much confusion over wire rust bonsai??Hai This should be the copper or the Aluminum wiring. Hai Bu He, Not worrying if the steel Hai He steel is ok and to use in many garden application. Hai Thank you.
 

Shinjuku

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Assuming that it’s actually iron oxide on your wires, you could buy wire that is only aluminum or copper with no iron/steel in it. There are several places that sell bonsai wire like this, though it can be a little pricey sometimes.

Another option is to buy wire marketed for other purposes, which can often work just as well. I don’t want to paste an actual link to Amazon, but search for “Fi-Shock FW-00018D 250-Feet 17 Gauge Spool Aluminum Wire.” It’s $4.65 for 250 feet. This gauge doesn’t meet all my wiring needs, but I sure do use it a lot, and I can’t beat the price.
 

Mike Hennigan

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If it is rusting then it is iron wire, or it has iron in it in some way. Sounds like maybe you got ripped off. You say that the wire is called “annealed” this sort of implies that it should be copper, but it is obviously not copper bonsai wire from your description. You say it is black in color so that makes me think it’s aluminum, but it’s rusting so there’s got to be iron in it, so it’s not aluminum bonsai wire. Not sure what you’ve got there, pictures of the rusting would be helpful. But if you have rusting wires on your tree, then I imagine that rust could easily stain the bark, and make things look a mess at the very least.
 
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Excluding toxicity of metals in contact with roots. Is there any metals toxicity that could come from a wire (of any type) in contact with branches? An extreme case would be cadmium wire! (Meant as science-y question, not sarcastic-y)
That I wonder about. Zinc and aluminum are metals that plants need in very, very small amounts. I don't think bark contact would hurt, but it rains sometimes. In areas with high polution (acidic rain) the metals could end up in the soil. That would be detrimental.
Iron rust could end up in the bark of some plants, causing lasting discolorations. But health wise it wouldn't do much I think. Aesthetically, it would suck though.
There's proof that metals can be absorbed through foliage. Which means that, especially aluminum is a metal to be carefull with. It's used in some acidic fertilizers to discolor plants intentionally. All my alu wire is thoroughly coated though. Just never use titanium. Waaaay to expensive and that stuff in oxidized form will rip your plant apart.
 

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