From Squirrels to Storms: How to Heal Broken Branches

on Feb 24, 2023
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Trees are vital to our environment, providing oxygen, shade, and aesthetic value. However, they are also susceptible to damage from a variety of factors, including animals, weather, and disease.

One common problem that trees face is partial branch breakage, which can occur for a number of reasons, such as a bear pulling on a branch or squirrels running on a weak branch. This article will discuss how to heal a tree branch that has partially broken apart, including why it happens and the steps you can take to help the tree recover.

Reasons for Branch Breakage

There are many reasons why a tree branch might partially break, including:

  1. Animal damage: Animals such as squirrels, bears, and deer can cause damage to trees by climbing on or gnawing at the branches, causing them to weaken or break.

  2. Storms: Strong winds, rain, and snow can cause tree branches to break, especially if the tree is already weakened by disease or insect infestation.

  3. Poor pruning: Improper pruning can lead to weak branches more likely to break.

Steps To Heal A Broken Tree Branch

  1. Evaluate the Damage: The first step in healing a partially broken tree branch is to evaluate the damage. If the break is less than one-third of the branch's diameter, the tree will likely be able to heal the wound on its own. However, if the break is more than one-third of the diameter, the branch may need to be removed.

  2. Clean the Wound: If the break is less than one-third of the diameter, clean the wound with a sharp, sterile knife or pruning saw. Cut away any ragged edges or torn bark to create a clean, smooth surface.

  3. Support the Branch: Use a splint to support the broken branch. The splint should be slightly longer than the break and wide enough to cover the entire circumference of the branch. Secure the splint to the branch using soft, flexible material such as pantyhose, cloth, or electrical tape. Ensure that the splint is tight enough to hold the branch in place but not so tight that it causes further damage.

  4. Apply Hormone Treatment: Hormone treatments, such as auxins, can help stimulate the growth of new tissue and speed up the healing process. Apply a hormone treatment to the wound according to the manufacturer's instructions.

  5. Monitor the Healing: Check the splint regularly to ensure it is still in place and the branch is healing properly. If the branch shows signs of decay or further damage, it may need removal.

Preventing Branch Breakage

Preventing partial branch breakage is the best way to ensure the health of your trees. Some ways to prevent partial branch breakage include:

  1. Prune Regularly: Regular pruning can help remove weak or diseased branches, which are more likely to break.

  2. Provide Support: Provide support for trees that are in high-traffic areas or that are vulnerable to animal damage.

  3. Choose the Right Tree: Choose trees that are well-suited to your climate and resistant to common diseases and pests.

  4. Maintain a Healthy Tree: Keep your trees healthy by providing adequate water and nutrients and promptly treating diseases or insect infestations.

What to Feed a Broken Tree Branch

Both plant hormones and food can benefit a broken branch, but they serve different purposes.

Plant hormones, such as auxins, can stimulate new tissue growth and help the tree heal the wound on the broken branch. These hormones can also promote the growth of new roots and shoots, which can help the tree recover more quickly.

On the other hand, plant food is used to provide nutrients to the tree, which can improve its overall health and vitality. Plant food can also help the tree to recover from stress or damage by providing it with the necessary nutrients for growth and repair.

In general, if a tree branch has partially broken apart, it is recommended to use plant hormones to promote healing and growth. However, providing the tree with proper nutrition is also important to support its overall health and recovery. This can be achieved by using a balanced fertilizer or adding organic matter to the soil around the tree.

It's worth noting that different tree species may have different needs when it comes to plant hormones and plant food, so it's always a good idea to research your tree's specific needs before applying any treatments. Additionally, it's important to follow the instructions on the product labels carefully and use any treatments in moderation, as excessive use can cause harm to the tree.


Healing a partially broken tree branch is possible with the right tools and techniques. By evaluating the damage, cleaning the wound, supporting the branch, applying hormone treatments, and monitoring the healing process, you can help your tree recover. However, prevention is always the best course of action. Regularly pruning, providing support, choosing the right trees, and maintaining a healthy tree can reduce the likelihood of partial branch break.


The below resources provide detailed information and instructions on how to heal a tree branch that has partially broken apart, as well as tips for preventing partial branch breakage in the first place.

"How to Repair a Broken Tree Branch." Gardener's Path, published on August 7, 2020, accessed on February 24, 2023, at

"How to Save a Broken Tree Branch." The Spruce, published on November 3, 2020, accessed on February 24, 2023, at

"How to Repair a Damaged Tree Branch." Arbor Day Foundation, accessed on February 24, 2023, at

"What to Do with a Broken Tree Branch?" Tree Services Magazine, published on September 16, 2021, accessed on February 24, 2023, at

"Pruning Trees." Clemson Cooperative Extension, accessed on February 24, 2023, at