How To Avoid Arborvitae Splitting?

Q: I’ve seen arborvitae in many beautiful landscapes. But it always seems to split as it grows. Can this be avoided? 

A: Arborvitae is an excellent needled evergreen but it can have a problem with splitting. When it occurs close to the top of the plant, this is not a problem. But when the splitting is only a few feet away from the ground, the plant will splay outward after a severe rain or ice storm.

The splayed branch is difficult to straighten. Some landscapers use wide green nylon tape to pull the branches upright.

I think the best thing to do is to inspect an arborvitae every few months to check for vigorous branches trying to grow out from the main trunk. It is a simple matter to clip a few inches off the tip and put them back into place.

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