In this paper we further develop a string model of hadrons by computing their strong decay widths and comparing them to experiment. The main decay mechanism is that of a string splitting into two strings. The corresponding total decay width behaves as Γ=[Formula presented]ATL where T and L are the tension and length of the string and A is a dimensionless universal constant. We show that this result holds for a bosonic string not only in the critical dimension. The partial width of a given decay mode is given by Γi/Γ=Φiexp(−2πCmsep 2/T) where Φi is a phase space factor, msep is the mass of the “quark” and “antiquark” created at the splitting point, and C is a dimensionless coefficient close to unity. Based on the spectra of hadrons we observe that their (modified) Regge trajectories are characterized by a negative intercept. This implies a repulsive Casimir force that gives the string a “zero point length”. We fit the theoretical decay width to experimental data for mesons on the trajectories of ρ ω π η K⁎, ϕ D, and Ds ⁎, and of the baryons N, Δ Λ and Σ. We examine both the linearity in L and the exponential suppression factor. The linearity was found to agree with the data well for mesons but less for baryons. The extracted coefficient for mesons A=0.095±0.015 is indeed quite universal. The exponential suppression was applied to both strong and radiative decays. We discuss the relation with string fragmentation and jet formation. We extract the quark–diquark structure of baryons from their decays. A stringy mechanism for Zweig suppressed decays of quarkonia is proposed and is shown to reproduce the decay width of ϒ states. The dependence of the width on spin and flavor symmetry is discussed. We further apply this model to the decays of glueballs and exotic hadrons.