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Arborvitaes are multi-stemmed plants so when heavy, wet snow falls sticks to the foliage these stems are pulled apart. What used to be a slim, green plant suddenly resembles the Wizard of Oz scarecrow pointing in two directions. “Of course, some people go both ways.”

Such split arborvitae stems can become permanently bent and the plants inner, bare branches perpetually exposed. So it’s understandable that gardeners and homeowners want to fix these snow damaged plants as quickly as possible. But sometimes the repair does more harm than good. Eager to help, many people tie or bind these stems too tightly. These ties don’t allow for growth over time and their restoration job ends up strangling the trunks as the plant gets larger.

Foam covered wire to the rescue. This product is stiff enough to bend around a stem without knotting so that the tie can expand as the plant grows. The soft wire won’t dig into the plant tissues and a spiral can be fashioned around Arborvitae stems that pulls the plant back together firmly, without damaging it.

I had five Arborvitaes that had splayed open stems after this winter's storms.

Here is the foam covered wire I used. I cut it with my Fiskars titanium scissors, but you could use wire cutters as well.

I wrapped the end around one stem but didn't close the wire on the stem or around itself. This allows the wire to expand as the stem grows.

Next I wound the four feet of coated wire up the inside of the plant, making a spiral. I worked the wire so that it gathered all the stems in that spiral but not the foliage so from the outside you can't see this support.

Bent branches are no longer pointing in two directions, yet all are free to move and grow.

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