You Don’t Need to Remove ALL the Wire…

…all at once.

Fall is a good time to check on what wires may be biting in on the branches. If you see some, don’t go for the default of taking it all off. That is very often a simple waste of your past work, the work you did putting it on.

The middle of this photo shows a few turns where the wire has bitten in on a juniper more than we would like. Those wraps were cut off. The rest—all the other branches in this photo—were left alone. None of them are showing signs of tightness, and they can continue to hold their branches in place until they get tighter.

Of course eventually all of it needs to be taken off. But pause to look and see how much actually is biting in. If it’s 10%, just take off that 10%.

Cut off just those wraps where tightness is seen (or over-tightness, as the photo shows). The rest may be left on until they begin to get tight too.

If you take wire off too soon, before any indentation has happened, most branches, conifer branches in particular, will simply spring back to where they were.

  • The benefit of taking wire off piecemeal is you get a much longer span of time that your wire application is useful to setting the branches.


🤞Sign up for the blog!

We don’t spam! Read more in our privacy policy


  1. seeing the amount of bite makes me feel better about some of mine that have slipped under the radar 😉

    • crataegus says:

      My fault, for educational purposes I should have used another photo, this area is well beyond the ‘ok’ zone in depth of digging in. A light marking is what we’re after.

  2. alan jabs says:

    Interesting concept and when you give it some thought just removing the bit that bites makes some sense. Also I have heard that there are those who never remove the wire on some trees (Pines especially) citing the bark grows over anyway…

    • crataegus says:

      Yes, that information is out there, but I would be very careful passing it on. Deeply bitten in wire creates a mess. There are some who use it to create a bulgy base on a small tree but that too I consider suspect. Bark does grow over on pines but usually creates a reverse taper at the base. And on branches we only want a slight indentation to help hold the branch, which, yes, bark can help hide.

Leave a Reply