Wiring Lessons, Wayne Schoech, and Spruce

Wayne Schoech, owner of Stone Lantern and well-known to many of you for his popular BonsaiBark blog, visited Portland last week for a four-day wiring immersion. Here are a few photos of his visit:


Wayne started with some wiring exercises that explored the physics of wire anchors and planning, then progressed to this pine.


Sharing adjustment concepts, how to place a branch and set a pad.

photo (1)

Discussing pad organization on the tree I was working on, an Ezo spruce.


For Wayne’s visit we referred to this excellent beginner’s book on wiring, available at Stone Lantern for .99 cents. Quite a deal. We began with some massive plastic-sheathed aluminum straight up the trunk to deliver the full 240 volts to the crown of the tree. This is a new direction for Crataegus Bonsai but it looks promising and we’ll let you know how it turns out.


Some of you have seen this Ezo spruce before on this blog. It’s slowly developing some density near the crowns and the pads are gaining mass. This spring it will go on some kind of platform, probably one of those odd nylon things I’ve been playing with. So you might see this one again soon. 42″/106 cm from root base to crown.


Since this is supposed to be an educational bonsai blog I guess I should include something of use to bonsaiists, yes? So, the tip of the week: When working on spruce, always cut—if you’re going to cut a shoot—always cut right before a bud. Otherwise it will die back to where there is a bud. It may take a year, but it will yellow and then finally die back. And this is about the last month you’d want to wire a spruce, the range being from fall through early spring.

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  1. bonsai eejit says:

    I just love that spruce!

  2. bonsai eejit says:

    Reblogged this on Bonsai Eejit and commented:
    Check out the Spruce in this blog post, absolutely right up my street πŸ™‚

  3. Jeremiah Lee says:

    That multi trunk Ezo is very beautiful! Thanks for the tip, I have learned alot from your blog and really appriciate your posts:)

  4. Beautiful tree! Firs are more forgiving with respect to wiring periods, yes?

  5. chis says:

    Where is the fifth trunk in the spruce display? Looks great with the even number anyway. Did Wayne cross many wires?

    • crataegus says:

      This was well answered by another reader-
      I would add that with a tree of this age, finding balance is more important than having it fit a numerical pattern for bonsai.
      Wayne was a very attentive wire programmer! He knew there would be no lunch and more pushups had he crossed any ; )

  6. John DeMaegd says:

    The wiring in the book would definately make wiring a tree a whole lot more interesting job! I laughed immeditely upon seeing the book!

  7. Dave Williams says:

    That Ezo is really looking good. I love the way it is filling out. P.s. love the shirt.

  8. hughrgrant says:

    An absolutely beautiful spruce there! and a beautiful wiring job to say the least,

  9. @Chis, it’s a 4-trunk spruce. In bonsai, as in nature, it’s OK to have four trees in a clump. Numerologically, four is a problematic number associated with death in Asian cultures. In America we don’t have to live by that. (In fact, in the West four is a number of completion and wholeness.

  10. taikoearth says:

    I love the branching of this tree. The fact that they are so numerous and delicate adds a feminine quality to the composition. Very effective!

  11. Daniel Dolan says:


    Please know that I place your Bonsai knowledge at the center of the small tree universe……………so when you advise that the appropriate time for wiring spruce is “Fall through early Spring”……..I have complete faith.

    However, your favorite source of Bonsai Information……Bonsai Books…….frequently describe the potential harm done bending/wiring and branches during the Winter because cambium breaks and other micro fractures in the branch may not heal properly and in some cases …….die.

    Is there a time during the period you recommend to avoid wiring or at least any that requires heavier bending?

    Thank you as always.
    Best regards,


    • crataegus says:

      No, you can do wiring and heavy bending any time in that period I mention. But like many idiots, I failed to mention some of the pertinent essentials that follow: After wiring or severe bending, protect your tree from wind, freezing temps, drying out, etc.

  12. Daniel Dolan says:

    [Please read “any” in place of “and” @ 2nd paragraph.]


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