Splitting vs Breaking a Branch
Splitting vs Breaking a branch can be the difference between moving a limb into its proper position or losing it altogether. In this article, we'll try our best to explain the difference between the two and how it can benefit you when styling your tree.

First off, breaking a branch is bad. A clean break on a branch means it severs all the sap flow from the trunk causing the branch to die. This is likely the situation you want to avoid. However, splitting a branch will maintain nutrient flow to the branch and allow the branch to continue to live.

In many instances, the only method to bring a branch downwards or to a certain position is to split the branch. Splitting the branch occurs when only part of the branch is pulled away from the trunk. This can be done with a small cut on the branch collar or the ridge where it connects with the trunk. Once you begin to bend the branch, the split will occur at the point where the cut was made. However, the cambium will remain intact on the other side of the cut. This will maintain nutrient flow between the branch and the trunk to keep it alive.

Once you make the split, it's important to seal the wound with a tree sealer. This will help prevent the wound from rotting during watering and protect air from drying the branch out from the inside.

Splitting is an essential technique for making heavy bends. Knowing the limits of the branch will help you know how far you can work on a branch. If a more major bend needs to be made, we recommend wrapping it with raffia first. However, with experience, you'll be able to determine at what limit a branch can move with just a split as opposed to with raffia.