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This is the technique of using annealed copper or anodised aluminium wire, wrapped around branches to enable them to be bent and held in shape so that a desired design can be achieved.
Different gauges of wire are available to match to different branch dimensions, the general guideline being that the wire should be a third the width of the branch. With thicker branches double wiring may be required. Copper wire is by its nature stiffer than the less expensive aluminium and tends to be used less often on trees in training. However the general consensus is that trees being "shown" if wired should use copper wire.
Warning - Wire can scar branches if left on too long allowing the branch to "grow around" it, so regular checking is important as wire scarring can take years to grow out - and in some tree types it never will.
We are regularly asked the question "how long do I leave the wire on?" The answer is "long enough to set the branch in place". This sometimes takes weeks on a fast growing tree during the growing season or years for a slow growing tree. Sometimes when the wire is removed the branch will spring back into its original position which means that the branch will require rewiring.
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