Altering Red Alder by Bending the Trunk Shape Drastically [Bonsai]



A day after planting my new Red Alder tree, I decided to test my creativity by adding some shape to the trunk.


Originally, I wrapped the end of the tree with green wire, and tied it securely to the edge of the pot. Later on I changed my mind.

This is not what I had in mind. I wanted the lower part of the trunk to bend, and I wanted it to arc more evenly to match a circle.


So I switched strategy and used the new bonsai wire I purchased. This wire was 4.5 mil thickness, and it's the biggest kind I got.

By keeping the coils close to 45 degree bends around the trunk, it provided better strength to hold the shape I wanted. The tree now shows slightly more bend closer to the base of the tree. Rather than cut the wire, I looped it through and around the pot. This way I can reuse this wire after it's served its purpose here.

The tip of the tree is so long, it actually continues through the top layer of the soil. I could have cut it off, but I wanted to keep the full length for added grip on the wire. Who knows? Maybe it will root there, and I can call this my first successfully air-layered tree.

When the tree hardens up, hopefully by mid-Summer, I will be able to remove the wire completely.


Looking from the top view, I started to think about the side branches, and my ultimate goal for this tree.


There is a branch along the middle of the bend where I envision this tree forming an arched branch, with many fanning shoots coming off it. With my hand I showed the start of what I had in mind.

This would represent a natural tree design I have seen in nature where the wind and the weight of the trunk is pulled over, causing several new smaller trunks to appear. As the main branch becomes further arched, the branches open up into beautiful radial angles.

Can you tell I love geometry?


This branch is quite thin, and I tested its flexibility. Again, a simple guy wire holding down the end will not be sufficient. I'll need to wrap the entire branch in wire to hold the desired shape.


Above I finished wrapping the wire. The wire was enough to cover two branches at once. The lower branch was angled forward a bit to give the tree some depth.


And two other branches were similarly wrapped in wire.

My plan is to use the topmost wired branch as a secondary option in case the I dislike the growth and shape of the lower one. I think the topmost branch actually shows greater signs of promise to grow long and arched in the fashion I desire.

This is my first Red Alder, so I really have no idea what type of growth habits it will have. It is March now, and the leaf buds are still tightly closed. Will the tree perform obediently as I envision, or will it behave like a stubborn child? Time will tell.

Photos in this post are all #originalworks by @creativetruth, unless stated otherwise.

Find me on discord and chat with other tree growers, bonsai enthusiasts, and gardeners. We have quite a few accredited experts filling out our ranks, and a helpful Spanish-speaking community.


No memberships. Love trees. Make friends. Grow together.

#red-alder #bonsai-wire #bonsai-styling #tree-shape #creative #art #design #diy #how-to #nature #native-plant #native-tree

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It will surely look beautiful in the future because of your dedication @creativetruth