Letting bark grow over wire to thicken the trunk?

grizzlywon

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http://vimeo.com/8052130 In this new Lindsay Farr video (that is quite well done as usual), they talk about pines being wrapped in wire and letting the bark grow over the wire.

What is the consensus on this? I have read about scaring the trunk with a razor blade as well. Seems like a similar technique. I have a rose bush that had a guide wire around it keeping it upright near the fence, and the bark has grown over it and now has swelled a lot more than the rest of the trunk.

I was also thinking this might work on a trident seeing that they grow so fast and have a bark that seems to heal up very well? Although it isn't very rough like pine bark. Maybe it's not such a good idea.
 
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rockm

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Cutting, hammering wrapping, etc. are all shortcuts to trunks and limb "character" that can have very limited success, and can also kill the limb/tree they're being used on.

Razor cuts are very disappointing in results. Hammering trunks can kill your tree, same with wire wrapping trunks...

Understand how this works before attempting.
 

Smoke

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There is no substitute for time and patience.
 

Vance Wood

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There is no substitute for time and patience.

That really is the major problem with bonsai in our culture; we want it now. The concept of waiting for things to happen is uncomfortable for us. Even techniques used to thicken a trunk take time to manifest themselves. I have used the piercing technique quite effectively but even that takes a number of years. Wrapping with wire will cause all sorts of weird things to happen and some of them, in the end, may be so bad the grower may wish they had not done them.
 

rockm

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I watched the video, couldn't help but wonder about this guy's knowledge of how plants work.

Wound callus tissue does not transfer nutrients. The rolling wounds are useless to the tree, other than to compartmentalize injury by the wire:
http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/consumer/factsheets/trees-new/text/tree_anatomy.html

It is not until much later that regular cambium tissue overgrows the callus tissue--possibly decades...If you're too aggressive with this kind of thing, you will kill your tree.

I also wonder about that big DEAD black pine he's got in the field. It looked to me (from what you can get from a video image, anyway) to have been aggressively air layered and died as a result.

Leaving wire on trunks is not a method used by most growers, he admits as much. It is his nursery's opinion...
 
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Rick Moquin

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Cutting, hammering wrapping, etc. are all shortcuts to trunks and limb "character" that can have very limited success, and can also kill the limb/tree they're being used on.

Razor cuts are very disappointing in results. Hammering trunks can kill your tree, same with wire wrapping trunks...

Understand how this works before attempting.

There is no substitute for time and patience.

That really is the major problem with bonsai in our culture; we want it now.
... I wouldn't say "our" perse but bonsai culture as a whole (read not everyone.)

Leaving wire on trunks is not a method used by most growers, he admits as much. It is his nursery's opinion...

... in addition, there is no mention of his success rate. Al applied a "the deadly pretzel hold" on some Juniper wips, a la Jim Gremel some time ago. Although it worked/works for Jim, it failed for him. One of Lindsay's video contained such a reference (deadly pretzel hold), it spurred quite a discussion shortly thereafter.

Touching on Vance point, he mentions in the video that there has been a move towards this type of cultivation in Japan, "the community wants this" etc... I believe this transition stems from the fact that their Yamadori is in limited supply these days. There has been multiple reference to this in the past.

Lindsay has done a fantastic job bringing and sharing with us his bonsai adventure. I know I await each new episode with much anticipation. Some I just view, others I study some technique and the rationale behind its usefulness or not. One of the thing I believe we need to be cautious about is that in the majority of the episodes, we get a birds eye view of certain tidbits but really look and you'll soon come to find out, the mere mention only scratches the surface. I have used one of these examples in my latest article.

Vance refers to the "piercing technique" for improving trunk flaws. I have such a flaw at the graft union of my Scots Pine. Carving it out is not really an option, but applying the "piercing technique" might solve the problem. The area we are talking about is small relatively speaking and should it fail, I can always carve away the fault. This IMO is using options with a fall back plan.
 
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Not a fan of this idea in the least... I wouldn't do it for all the reasons listed above. It's just bad horticulture.
 

Smoke

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but....I have also had some success with the method also. Since bending the whip it acclimated to its pot last year. This year it has double foliage and in winter I have grown this amazing spike which when grown in full sun and fetilizer I expect to double next year. This being the second year, the plant will respond more favorably.

The second try on a pine is more promising. The wire is already biting in and in some places it is flush with the wire. As the tree enters bud break this month the wire will be taken off and the plant should hold its shape. Then it will just be a matter of the sacrifice leader doing it's job. This pine will be slip potted into an air pot next week after the seminar. This plant should also double in size or better this year.
 

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Rick Moquin

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but....I have also had some success with the method also. Since bending the whip it acclimated to its pot last year.
I am glad you found success as originally you were disappointed the technique didn't work for you. I noticed (from what I can see you didn't peal the bark on that one. Is that what led to previous failures?
 
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There is no substitute for time and patience.

This is true, however the best trees in nature, those few we seek out to collect, those that have twisted trunks, that have been stunted, that have great trunk thickness in comparison to height.....these trees were not created by simply growing for decades patiently. They suffered damage by the environment. Wind, snow, sand, insects, rodents, etc all played a role in damaging the tree, causing it to react and attempt to correct itself back to its inherent form. (See Robert Steven's new book "Mission of Transformation" for more on this.)

As bonsaists, we attempt to recreate natural damage, the same damage that forms these great trees in nature, so that the tree can hopefully obtain the same features. We do this by wiring, carving, jinning, pruning, hacking, and so forth. One of the greatest challenges has been to create massive trunks and the best solution to date is simple in ground growth, nothing work faster and better, period.

However, I salute those who experiment with new techniques, such as the wire damage mentioned above and we should not condemn or quickly judge those who try these new things. Not enough time has passed to call success or failure yet. Remember, at one time people condemned the use of wire for shaping trees.....



Will
 

rockm

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Jeez. Worshipping bad horticulture is silly. Just because "the Japanese do it" doesn't make it sacred.

Sure, we seek out trees in nature that have been beaten to within an inch of their lives, but we don't do the beating. Nature does and she eliminates those trees that can't stand it. Collecting a tree that has survived this treatment means it has found a way over the years to survive. One has to wonder how many of its brothers and sisters didn't find that path and perished in the process. It has adapted over time...this process accelerates that timeline greatly and artificially for questionable results.

AFTER we collect that tortured tree, it is in our best interests to make it flourish to produce the best design results. A weak compromised tree is pretty useless. This technique can compromise the life of a tree if misapplied, or even if properly applied. It's not necessary--and isn't really all that effective--take a look at the huge white pine with the twisted scar on it. The scar is not all that impressive or even much visible. One might argue the tree would be better WITHOUT the scarring.

The practice is sketchy. If you read between the lines, this nurseryman apparently knows that as he notes some--read the majority--of bonsaimen avoid it.

Additionally, this is hardly a new technique. It's been around for quite a while. There's a reason it's not used all that much. It's iffy in application and produces mediocre results.
 
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Attila Soos

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Wound callus tissue does not transfer nutrients. ..

Are you sure about this? The reason I am asking is that as often happens with an imperfectly done air layer (or ground layer), if the ring where the bark was removed is too narrow, the tree will quickly grow a callus tissue over it and survive without growing any new roots. So, the nutrients must be transported over the newly-formed callus tissue, or else the roots would starve to death.

Callus tissue is made of live cells, so I assumed that is part of what we call phloem. It is able to transport sap.
 

rockm

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I'm pretty sure Al. Callus tissue is not typical phloem. That tissue is meant specifically to compartmentalize the wound. This seems to be a sliding scale though, depending on a few things like species and climate.

However, the general rule is that wound callus doesn't transfer nutrients:
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/mg089


"So, the nutrients must be transported over the newly-formed callus tissue, or else the roots would starve to death"

Or sufficient transport tissue remained in the ring you removed--you didn't scrape hard enough to get to dead wood--which may be why the air layer failed, since it still had the resources to stay alive, it simply "saw" no need to issue roots...
 

Attila Soos

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I think that any technique is good, as long as we can keep the tree healthy and vigorous. One of the very successful techniques used to create interest and character is bark-stripping. If used with knowledge and purpose, it can transform a boring material into a masterpiece (see the work of Cheng Kung Cheng).

So, if we consider that bark stripping can be very useful, the use of wire seems much less traumatic, since the tree has a long time to re-direct the flow of sap. In this context, I don't see anything wrong with it.

It is an advanced technique, so it is not recommended for beginners, of course. It can kill the tree if applied incorrectly, but so does incorrect carving, rootpruning, watering, and many other techniques.

It can lead to disastruous and grotesque results, if applied with little knowledge. But if you create one single masterpiece, using this technique, then the experiment was worth it, and valuable conclusions can be learned from it. If you fail, you can call it bad horticulture. If you succeed, it becomes a great tool.

Bonsai is not about giving the tree the optimal conditions to grow unchecked. If that's what we want, then just plant the tree into the ground and nurture it to maturity.

The way I practice it, bonsai is a game of walking the fine line between life and death, while creating a work of art (I am referring to the life and death of the tree, of course). Any tool or technique will do, as long you get what you want.
 
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Attila Soos

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I'm pretty sure Al. Callus tissue is not typical phloem. That tissue is meant specifically to compartmentalize the wound. This seems to be a sliding scale though, depending on a few things like species and climate.

However, the general rule is that wound callus doesn't transfer nutrients:
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/mg089


"So, the nutrients must be transported over the newly-formed callus tissue, or else the roots would starve to death"

Or sufficient transport tissue remained in the ring you removed--you didn't scrape hard enough to get to dead wood--which may be why the air layer failed, since it still had the resources to stay alive, it simply "saw" no need to issue roots...

I am not convinced, I don't see any specific reference in your article, that the callus is incapable of transporting nutrients (unless I am just missing the specific paragraph, in which case I apologize).

Yes, it is possible that I did not scrape hard enough. But I am talking about the countless times that the tree was very well scraped (it was actually carved beyond the limit of the xylem), and the healing still took place.

On a different note, the xylem indeed cannot transport nutrients, only water.
 
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rockm

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I understand the intention completely and agree with you, however, this particular technique isn't worth the trouble. Look at the end result on that white pine. It's hardly worth it...IMO. I doesn't get worthwhile results and ultimately isn't worth the trauma and trouble.

If you're going to weaken or risk a tree, the reason better be worth it.

"If you fail, you can call it bad horticulture. If you succeed, it becomes a great tool."

No. Not really. A great tool produces great results. This technique and other "short cuts' like razor wounding for taper, are gimmicks for the most part. In the instance of this technique, the damage isn't even unique. Trees made like this are almost instantly recognizable from the mostly uniform spiral wounds. At least with other injury techniques, like jin and bark stripping, the results dont' really stick out so obviously.

No, of course bonsai is not about letting trees grow unchecked. It is however, about keeping trees healthy to get optimal response from the techniques we subject them to, as well as picking and choosing the best techniques to get the best results. This technique does neither.
 

rockm

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"Trees are unable to replace injured tissues. Instead, they form boundaries around it which seal the area from the rest of the tree. The wood within the area which has been sealed off can no longer supply the rest of the tree with stored food."
 

Attila Soos

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"Trees are unable to replace injured tissues. Instead, they form boundaries around it which seal the area from the rest of the tree. The wood within the area which has been sealed off can no longer supply the rest of the tree with stored food."

Come on Mark, the quote above doesn't address the issue of whether or not the callous tissue transports nutrients. It just says that the wood that was sealed off, cannot transport nutrients. The callous tissue is the bridge over it, this is how the tree creates new lines of transportation around the sealed area.
 

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