Using a turnbuckle to help wire a bonsai tree

This hawthorn will be better if we can shorten the tree by lowering the apex. Because of the thickness of the trunk, it is not possible to wire in a conventional way. However, using a turnbuckle the job is an easy one. Arrows indicate the anchor points we are going to use.

turnbuckle slideshow image 1

Arrows indicate the anchor points we are going to use.


Here we make a pilot hole for a stout eye to anchor one end of the turnbuckle. In this instance there is an old pruning scar we can cut into. Make sure the eye is strong enough to hold under the extreme pressure.


At the top we use a heavy copper wire loop. Cushion the bark very well with thick rubber. Old cooling system hose from a car is ideal. Make sure the wire loop is of sufficient gauge to hold.


Here is the completed arrangement. Pay attention to the angles, anchor points and direction of load. There is going to be a great deal of pressure applied to a bend like this and safety is important. Yours and the tree!


This is how the turnbuckle and eye should look.


Beginning to tighten the turnbuckle. Already the trunk has been shortened by the amount of thread within the turnbuckle body. If things are going well then you can continue to draw down the branch by further tightening the turnbuckle. However it is also possible to work over a period of months and tighten the turnbuckle a little by little. Once the desired position has been achieved you can leave all in place for at least one full growing season. The heavier the trunk and the further the bend the longer it will be necessary to keep the tension in place.