Raffia is used in several crafts but in bonsai culture it is used predominately when performing bends in branches or trunks where there is a risk of breakage.
How to use
- Raffia is first soaked in water to soften the natural fibres. Several strands are then tied together and tightly wound around the section of the tree which is going to be bent.
- Thick wire is sometimes placed under the raffia in the direction of the branch or trunk, to re-inforce the bend once made.
- After applying the raffia the branch or trunk is wired as normal.
- A branch jack and stay might be used to then create the bend and keep the bent part in position. A length of metal rebar can also be used, anchored to a suitable pivot point.
It is important to note that if raffia is to be effective it must be applied very tightly.
- Bending thick branches and/or trunks.
- Working with brittle trees and performing bends.
- Protecting trees which have thin bark or are delicate (olives, azalea, privet etc) when doing wiring.
- Keeping live veins from separating from deadwood when making bends.
- Tying several trees together in order for them to fuse.
- When doing root over rock plantings you can use it as a biodegradable means to fasten tree roots to the rock.