Wiring and shaping advice

Craig*

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Hi All,

Recently got hooked on bonsai and would love to hear your suggestions on shaping and wiring for this little tree.

I also need some help identifying the tree, the tag said Brazilian Rain Tree, but from what I've found online it really doesn't look like one.


IMG_8757.jpeg

Thanks

Craig
 

Bonsai Nut

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Welcome to the site!

I'm not sure what it is, except that it isn't a Brazillian rain tree (which has small compound leaves). Is that a small yellow flower that I can't quite see?

As far as feedback on your wiring, it is too loose to be able to give you any control over your branches. By too loose I don't mean the opposite of "too tight" I mean, you need to put more wire on the branch, seeking about a 45 degree angle as the wire winds around the branch. Once you have more wire on the branches, you can not only direct how you want the branch to lay out, but you can introduce random movement into the branch ( up and down, side to side) so that the branch looks older and not straight like a sapling. Generally, with old trees in nature, the lower branches tend to droop, while the upper branches tend to be more upright. Think like a tree and look at photos of trees in nature. Make sure your branch styling is consistent for the overall design you are trying to achieve.
 
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Craig*

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Thanks Bonsai Nut

Yes they are small yellow flowers.

Thanks for the wiring tips, I definitely need to up my game, I think I was more focused on not wiring too tightly :)
 

sorce

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Welcome to Crazy!

Sorce
 

Shibui

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Difficult to get a good look at smaller diagnostic features with the backlight and no closer look at leaves, etc.

A couple of possibilities come to mind from the view given.
Cotoneaster (but I don't think any of them have yellow flowers)
Corokia
Berberis

I take it you are ashing for suggestions for a shape for this little tree?
The reality is that it can be anything you want. Looks like you will be happy to have a little stick in a pot bonsai in which case it does not matter too much how branches are placed but I would chop the topmost shoot back quite a lot. Pruning is what stimulates new shoots that will fill in the canopy. New shoots usually only grow from the last couple of nodes/ leaves so when we want more branching we sometimes have to cut back way more than the final outline and let the new shoots grow out to that size/shape gradually.
The rounded canopy tree you have made is what many beginners see as bonsai and if that's what you want you have actually done quite well for now.
 

River's Edge

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Esolin

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It's got small thorns too from the look of it. Not sure what it is, but it does look tropical, or maybe acacia family?
 

Shibui

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I thought I could see thorns too but photo is not clear enough to be sure.
Berberis have thorns which was why I made it one of the suggestions above. Berberis also have yellow or orange flowers.
 

Craig*

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Thanks everyone for trying to help identify - I'm in Central Florida.

I brought the tree along with a Fukien tea so its definitely a tropical. It has very small yellow flowers and thorns.

Here are a couple of close ups:

Screen Shot 2021-04-15 at 7.28.57 PM.png
Screen Shot 2021-04-15 at 7.29.11 PM.png
 

Craig*

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I take it you are ashing for suggestions for a shape for this little tree?
The reality is that it can be anything you want. Looks like you will be happy to have a little stick in a pot bonsai in which case it does not matter too much how branches are placed but I would chop the topmost shoot back quite a lot. Pruning is what stimulates new shoots that will fill in the canopy. New shoots usually only grow from the last couple of nodes/ leaves so when we want more branching we sometimes have to cut back way more than the final outline and let the new shoots grow out to that size/shape gradually.
The rounded canopy tree you have made is what many beginners see as bonsai and if that's what you want you have actually done quite well for now.

Thanks for the advice, Shibui

You are totally right, I wired the top like that because I thought that's how it should go. I will give the top branch a cut back. The whole tree feels very two-dimensional at the moment, if that makes sense. So maybe cutting it back will help with new growth and fill it out a little more.
 

Shibui

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The whole tree feels very two-dimensional at the moment, if that makes sense. So maybe cutting it back will help with new growth and fill it out a little more.
2D is often achieved by beginners who concentrate on spread but not depth. You wired all the branches and placed them to the sides =2D. Just bend a few of the smaller ones toward the back for depth. Problem solved.
At some stage you will find that opposite branches don't look good. We usually try to stagger branches up the trunk - side back, side, etc. That usually means cutting some branches off completely which is a scary prospect for a beginner. It can look like the tree is very open and empty after pruning like that but the remaining branches will grow faster when they have space and less competition so the spaces fill in quickly.

Leave all the branches for the moment but consider removing some over the next year or 2 to get the staggered branch structure going. Bonsai can be slow so no need to sprint to the finish.
 

Adair M

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Mirai has a good free video on wiring
I watched one of Ryan’s wiring videos. Two actually. One was “structural wiring”, the other was “detail wiring”.

I thought it odd that on the “detail wiring” video, he started by wiring the secondary branches out near the tips first, then worked his way back towards the trunk. I’ve alwYs done just the opposite. Started with the branches near the trunk, and worked my way out. Maybe it was just how he worked that branch, I just thought it was odd.
 
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