If you wish to change the shape of your tree’s trunk or branches, you need to wrap wire around the parts you wish to shape. This is not easy for the beginner, but can be achieved with care.
The best time to do this is when the tree is dormant. If your tree is deciduous so much the better as the leaves will not get in the way or block your view. The branches and trunk will not be growing at this time of year, so there is little chance of the wire cutting into the bark and scarring the tree.
Use anodised aluminum wire which is available at our Tools page. As a general guide choose a thickness that is 1/3rd that of the branch you wish to train.
Some species do not take kindly to the wire and the bark cuts easily – particularly Azaleas and Maples (Acers). If you wish to train either of these trees first wrap the branch in raffia or something similar to prevent the wire cutting the bark.
You will find helpful illustrations and comprehensive advice on wiring a bonsai at this website.