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HOME FRUIT GROWING-- Glossary of Terms

This page features many more terms that were unable to be included in the Fruit Gardener's Bible, plus the ones included there.  Some of the following may have other meanings than these relating to fruit culture. More unusual terms have pronunciation ( ) after the term.

Abiotic.  A plant problem not caused by a living organism, such as by environment or improper culture

Acidic. Refers to soil pH, below 7.0 which is neutral, often found near pine trees, favored by fruits in Heath family such as blueberry, often in eastern soils, also called “sour”

Aggregate.  Type of fruit such with brambles, strawberries; actually made up of many tiny fruit called “drupelets” with brambles

Alkaline.  Refers to soil pH, above 7.0 which is neutral, lower with sulfur, most plants grow best in slightly acidic, often found in western soils

Alternate fruiting (bearing).  Propensity of some fruits, such as kiwis and some apples, to fruit heavily one year, then little to none the next, alternating in such a cycle.

Anchorage.  Ability of roots, usually rootstock on apples, to anchor a tree; often dwarfing rootstocks are poor so need staking

Anther.  Top of male flower part (stamen) that holds the pollen

Anthracnose.  Disease of brambles, strawberries, blueberries; several symptoms from leaf spots to pink slime on fruit; mostly in rainy periods early in the season

Apical bud.  The bud at the apex or tip of shoots; prune it out to promote side branches

Arbor.  Vertical structure, used for shade and one which vines such as grapes are grown; usually of wood, and less extensive than a pergola and 3 dimensions rather than 2 as with a trellis.

Arm.  Stems or shoots of grapes two or more years old; short branches off the trunk from which future canes develop; one year old shoots are called canes, and produce the shoots (spurs) that bear fruit

Asexual.  Propagation not by seeds, see Vegetative.

Axil.  Where the leaf joins a stem.

Axillary bud.  See Lateral bud.

Bacteria. Disease-causing organism difficult to control, singular “bacterium”

Balanced pruning.  Pruning back grapes so the growth one year will support the fruits the next; pruning back new transplants so the top growth is balanced to the roots lost in transplanting.

Balled and Burlapped.  Root and soil surrounding them encased in burlap to hold together, can be planted if not plastic coated and it will deteriorate

Bare root.  Roots without soil, common method to buy fruit trees from catalogs

Basic.  Refers to soil pH, above 7.0 which is neutral, often found in western soils, also called alkaline or “sweet”

Bench cut.  Pruning a major upright limb back to a lower, horizontal limb from which it arises; use sparingly for trees that have gotten too tall

Berry. Type of fruit (simple) arising from one flower, parts remain soft, has one or more seeds; often refers to small fruits that can be eaten whole

Biennial.  Flowering or bearing every other year, common with some tree fruits; see “alternate bearing”

Bilateral.  Growing in two opposite directions, as canes of grapes off the trunk along trellis wires

Biological control.  Using naturally-derived chemical, predators, and other non-chemical means to control pests

Biotic.  A plant problem caused by a living organism, such as a fungus disease

Bitter pit.  A physiological problem with apples; seen as small, dark, rounded lesions on the skin; caused by calcium deficiency

Blackcap.  A named used for blackberries, usually wild ones, in some areas

Bleed.  When sap oozes from cuts or wounds in early spring on some plants, such as muscadines; this doesn’t hurt the plants

Blind wood.  Stems without any shoots or spurs, so wont flower or fruit

Bloom.  Flower; with fruit, refers to whitish coating as on plums and blueberries

Blush.  A light red tint on skin of some fruits such as apples, peaches, yellow cherries.

Botrytis. (bo-TRY-tiss)  See gray mold

Brambles.  Fruiting plants such as raspberries and blackberries in the Rubus genus, often with thorny stems that arise prolifically

Branch collar.  Swelled area where branch joins a trunk; prune branches back to this area (but not into it) for fastest healing

Brix.  A measure in percent of sugar content of grape juice, 22 percent being the usual for wine making

Bud.  Found in the axils, it is basically a dormant and compressed shoot, that given the right conditions, will resume growth

Budding.  Propagation method of attaching a bud (scion) from one plant to stem of another (rootstock); where they meet is the bud union

Buffering.  Ability of soil to resist or buffer changes, in pH or fertility

Bunch grapes.  Botanically, most grapes including the American and European, other than the muscadines

Burn.  Symptom when leaves turn brown, often at edges; many causes including too much fertilizer, too much sun when dry

Burr knots.  Ugly, misshapen growths on some apple rootstocks (such as M.26 and M.111), sometimes on branches, from the plant trying to grow roots above ground (adventitious root initials); cause is unknown; provides entry for borers and diseases

Bushel.  Unit of volume, equal to 8 gallons; used mainly for tree fruits; for apples  it averages about 42 pounds

Buttons.  Small, misshapen fruit as with apples and peaches; often from poor spring flower fertilization; on strawberries may be from tarnished plant bug

Callus.  Growth of stem or trunk over a wound or graft union

Calyx.  Group of sepals below the petals in flowers; in fruits, the opposite end from when attached to stem

Cambium. The thin layer of tissue, often green or greenish yellow, between the bark and the wood on a tree; important to line up in grafting between rootstock and scion

Cane. The main stem of many plants with small fruits such as the brambles and currants that produce many canes; one-year old stems of grapes; woody stems that have buds after leaves fall

Cane pruning.  Pruning system for grapes, removing whole canes and most of cordons each year, leaving only two canes per wire (with 4 or 5 buds), and two cut back for renewal spurs (each with a couple buds).

Canker.  Decayed or sunken area of bark, often discolored, caused by disease; may have sap oozing out

Canopy.  The total coverage of an area by leaves and shoots as in trees, or the term for these above ground portions in vines

Caps.  Stem ends of strawberries removed after picking before eating

Catfacing.  Fruit that is scarred, puckered, and deformed;  more common on strawberries and stone fruits; insects such as the tarnished plant bug can cause this, as can poor pollination and environmental factors.

Central leader.  Main trunk at top of tree growing upright; also refers to type of training, to one central stem, as in apples

Certified.  Young plant, generally grown from tissue culture, certified by the propagator to be disease free, generally of viruses

Chilling.  Need for some fruit to have a certain number of hours below 45 degrees in order to flower and fruit; is reversed by hours above 60 degrees

Chlorosis.  Yellowing of leaves overall, generally from lack of nutrition such as nitrogen

Clay.  Type of soil that bakes hard in sun, and stays wet after rains; difficult to work; very small mineral particles

Clone.  A plant genetically the same as its parent or another plant; seedlings are often of different clones so useful where cross pollination is needed (adj. clonal)

Cluster.  A group of flowers or fruits, as in a cluster of grapes

Collar.  Region of tree trunk from which a side branch emerges, often slightly raised

Complete fertilizer.  One contained three main elements of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium;  also may contain other minor elements; such as 5-3-4

Compost.  Soil amendment made from microorganisms breaking down organic matter

Cordon.  Stems (long arms) of grapes that are horizontal, or nearly so, and 2 or more years old, from which canes or spurs arise; also used for the training system in which horizontal stems support fruiting spurs; a narrow column with espaliers

Core. Central stem or stalk inside raspberry, blackberry fruit; also called “receptacle”

Cover crop.  A grain or other crop planted for a year or two between replanting of the same crop, lessens pests and diseases, tilled in they add organic matter; examples are buckwheat, winter rye, oats, clover; incorporating a living crop is “green manuring”

Cracking.  When fruit skins such as of grapes split (often called “splitting”), often after heavy rains; such shortens storage life and allows diseases to enter; some cultivars are more resistant

Crotch.  Angle formed where two branches meet, or main limb joins the trunk; v-shaped narrow crotches are weak and not desirable as they can break with heavy fruit, snow or wind

Cross pollination.  Pollen moving from one flower to another, with on the same plant or among flowers on different plants.  If it moves between different plants, this often results in fruit that are different from either parent, a hybrid among the two.

Crown.   area at base of a herbaceous plant where stems meet roots;  shortened stem from which leaves emerge as on strawberries;  central area from which canes emerge as with some brambles; on trees, the overhead branches and foliage

Crown gall.  A nasty bacterial disease from the soil that enters through wounds to cause warts on roots; once there it can’t be eliminated, so should be avoided with clean plants and proper culture

Cultivar.  A “cultivated variety” originating not from nature but by humans through a process of selection or breeding; closely related group of plants within a species, maintained in cultivation; most fruit selections are cultivars

Curtain.  Applies to grape vines, referring to the shoots trained onto a trellis system, which often creates a vertical effect similar to a curtain

Cutting.  Small piece of plant stem, rooted to make a new plant

Daylength.  Length of daylight hours, affects flowering and so fruiting of some plants such as long summer days responsible for flowering of everbearing strawberries

Day-neutral.  Cultivar of strawberry that fruits through the season, and doesn’t respond to long days of summer as true everbearing cultivars do

Deadman.  An anchor buried in the ground for wires on a trellis, such as with grapes.

Deciduous. (dee-SID-u-us) Shrub or tree that loses its leaves each fall

Dewberry.  Group of species of trailing blackberries

Dioecious. (di-E-shush)  Literally “two houses”, referring to male and female flowers (imperfect) on separate plants; less common in temperate climates; examples are hollies and dates

Division.  Propagating plants by dividing them into smaller sections

Dolomitic lime.  Lime used to raise the soil pH, contains magnesium

Dormant (dormancy).  Stage of growth during which plant isn’t growing, but capable of doing so given the right conditions; often during drought or over winter

Dormant pruning.  Pruning during the dormant season, usually late winter or early spring just prior to growth resuming.

Drip irrigation.  Watering through soaker hoses or emitters placing water at plant bases on the soil surface, least wasteful method of watering

Drip line.  the area under a tree below the outside edge of branches; just inside this is where many feeder roots are located, so fertilizer needed

Drops.  Fallen fruit, early in the season from insect damage usually; keep picked up to lessen pests and diseases

Drupe.  Type of fruit botanically (such as cherry, peach, plum) with a central pit, a stone fruit

Espalier. (es-pal-e-A)  A tree trained to grow flat against a trellis or wall

Ethylene.  (ETH-eh-lean) A “ripening gas” given off by some fruits such as apples and bananas; one of these can be put in a bag with unripe fruit such as kiwis to speed up their ripening.

Everbearer.  Strawberry cultivar that fruits in early and late season; often day-neutral cultivars are lumped with these in catalogs

Filament.  The long tube of the male flower part (stamen) with the anther on top

Flagged shoot.  A shoot, often terminal, that is wilted; generally from insect damage below the wilted part, such as from the oriental fruit moth

Flesh.  The edible, soft, often juicy part of the fruit inside the skin, often called “pulp”

Floricane.  The second year-old cane of a bramble that can bear fruit

Frost.  Icy film forming on plants and objects when temperatures drop below freezing (32°F) and sufficient air moisture; moderate frosts are below 28°F, and hard frosts below 24°F

Fruit.  The fertilized and ripened ovary of a plant with seeds; fruit crops are generally considered those perennial plants that produce edible fruit

Fungi.  Microscopic disease organisms, reproducing by spores that can be seen with a hand lens; plural “fungus”

Fungicide.  Chemical used to kill fungal diseases

Fungus. Disease causing organism that reproduced by spores, plural “fungi”

Girdling.  Removing bark, or otherwise damaging it as by a wire or trimmer, around most or all the circumference; result it blocking nutrient flow, damage or death of the plant; common on fruit branches, trunks over winter by mice in grassy areas

Girdling root.  A root that grows in a circle around the root mass, next to the trunk and choking off the flow of nutrients, weakening and possibly eventually killing the tree; usually arises from not loosening roots at planting of root-bound plants

Graft.  Propagation method of attaching a piece of stem (scion) from one plant to stem of another (rootstock); done through specialized cuts matching growing layers, an area called the "graft union"

Grafting tape. Moisture-proof tape that can be used instead of wax in grafting

Grafting wax. Material used to seal grafts so they don’t dry out

Gray mold.  Botrytis disease, fungus causing a gray, fuzzy growth usually on old flowers and fruit under damp conditions

Green manure.  A crop such as clover, oats, or winter rye plowed or tilled into the soil to add nutrients and organic matter

Growing season.  Generally refers to number of frost-free days

Grubs.  Insect larvae mainly of beetles (such as Japanese beetle), generally light colored with darker head, resembling a short fat worm; most common in soil, but sometimes in fruit (plum curculio) 

Harden. Process of plants in fall preparing for winter (also hardening off)

Hardiness.  Ability of plant to withstand temperature extremes; usually refers to cold hardiness

Hardiness zone.  Area of similar average annual minimum winter temperatures; usually used is a map by USDA with such zones, delineated every 10 degrees

Head.  Area on grape vine trunks from which arms and canes are produced

Heading back/cut.  Pruning back stems part way, usually central ones, to promote side branching

Heel-in.  To temporarily bury roots of bare-root plants in the ground, or moist material such as sawdust, stems outward at an angle, until planting

Herbicide. Weed killer chemical

Hermaphroditic.  See Perfect (flower type).

Humus.  Term often used to refer to decayed organic matter such as manure, compost, peat moss

Hybrid. A plant formed from crossing or pollination of two parent plants

Hygrometer.  An instrument used to measure the sugar content of grape juice for winemaking

Imperfect flower.  One with either male or female parts, not both

Incompatibility.  In propagation, inability of scion and rootstock to grow together; in pollination, inability of pollen of one plant to successfully pollinate another

Intergeneric.  Rare crosses between different genera of plants, such as the Shipova from the cross of a mountain ash and pear

Internode.  Part of stem between the nodes

Interstem.  Piece of stem, usually on apples, grafted onto the rootstock, and onto which is grafted the cultivar scion; used to impart other properties to the tree from the rootstock; much less common than a single graft

Invasive.  A plant which spreads, but seeds (often birds help) or roots, out of control; often used for those spreading into natural areas displacing native plants

IPM.  Integrated Pest Management, controlling pests and diseases based on understanding and interrupting cycles of problems, beginning with non-chemical methods

Kniffen.  (NIFF-in)  Type of trellis system for grapes with two wires, roughly at 3 and 6 feet high; perhaps most common training system, the four-arm or four-cane Kniffen has a cane on each wire, growing laterally away from the main trunk

Larva.  Immature stage of some insects, after eggs and before adults, such as caterpillar or “worm” –like; plural larvae

Lateral branch/shoot. A side branch that grows off of a main (scaffold) branch; often just called lateral in case of grapes, referring to a side shoot or cane

Lateral bud.  A bud (beginning of new shoot or flower) in the axil of where leaves or branches join a trunk or larger branch

Layering.  Propagation by rooting stems of plants, still attached, on soil

Leaching. Washing through soil of minerals, nutrients, often into ground or surface water

Leader. Central, dominant shoot

Leaf burn.  Browning of leaves, usually on their margins, caused by insufficient water; this in turn can be caused, in addition to drought, from root damage or too much fertilizer

Lime. Calcium material used to raise the soil pH, making it more alkaline and less acid

Loam. Desirable soil type with a balance of about 2/5 sand, 2/5 silt, and 1/5 clay particles; often used to refer to a good soil

Lopper.  Pruning tool with long handles used for larger branches

Microclimate. Climate within a small area, often within a property such as near a building or at the bottom of a hill

MLO.  Mycoplasma-like organism, a microscopic plant parasite that lives in certain plant cells (ones that transfer nutrients); responsible for some plant diseases

Modified leader.  Shoot created by pruning by main central leader shoot, promotes more branching; also refers to a system of pruning, with such pruning, to reduce tree height

Monoecious.  (mone-E-shush)  Plant with imperfect flowers, with both male and female on the same plant

Mulch. An organic material such as pine needles or wood chips used on the soil around plants to help conserve moisture, control weeds, keep soils cooler

Mummies.  Fruit that are shriveled, dark, with dry rot; as from the black rot fungus

Native.  Many definitions exist, but generally considered a plant present in the Americas when the first settlers arrived, and not introduced by them or later emigrants

Nematode.  A microscopic worm-like parasite, sometimes called eelworm or roundworm.  Beneficial nematodes help speed the decay of organic matter, or provide natural pest controls.  Harmful species attack roots (less common foliar nematodes tunnel in leaves), causing reduced growth or even death.  Root knot nematodes can be a serious pest on strawberries.

Node. Part of stem (often thickened) where leaves, or other stems, join; location of leaf axils, lateral buds

Nut.  Single seeded fruit, enclosed in a hard, woody casing that must be removed before eating; such as pecans, walnuts

Open center.   Method of pruning to take out central branches, keeping the center of the plant open into a vase shape,  allows more light into the center, common for peaches

Organic.  Material that contains carbon; more commonly refers to naturally-derived materials compared to synthetic ones human-derived

Organic matter.  Part of the soil made up of carbon-containing substances such as decayed leaves, peat moss; important for soil microorganisms and good soils

Ovary.  The swollen base of the pistil, contains ovule(s), ripens into the fruit as it grows and develops

Overbearing.  Propensity of some fruit trees, especially precocious dwarfs, to bear too much fruit too soon, before they are fully grown and have sufficient roots; the results is a future weakened tree; avoid by thinning fruit

Own-root.  Plants grown on their own roots, and not grafted onto an understock; such as standard fruit trees

Peat moss.  Remains of dead and decomposed mosses from bogs, generally sphagnum; used in potting soils and as a soil amendment for organic matter; very acidic; often just called “peat”

Perennial.  Plant that grows for more than two years (if hardy), with new growth each year; usually refers to plants that die back to the ground then regrow in spring

Perfect flower.  One that is bisexual, has both male and female parts; otherwise “imperfect” as in hollies, some tropical trees and dates; syn. hermaphroditic

Pergola.  See arbor.

Permaculture.  An approach to choosing plants and designing landscapes, based on ecological and biological principles, to make them sustainable, low-input for resources, functional, as well as aesthetic

Pesticide.  Chemicals used to kill insects (insecticide), mites (miticide), weeds (herbicide)

pH.  The scale of soil acidity, with 7.0 being neutral, below being acidic, above being alkaline; important since it affects nutrient uptake by plants

Phenological.  (fee-no-Lah-gi-cal) Stages of plant development, usually referring to leaves and flowers and fruit, that vary with season and climate; science of this is “phenology”

Pheromone.  (FAIR-o-mone) Chemical an insect uses to attract another, most often being powerful sex pheromones females use to attract males; synthetic ones are used in pest control to disrupt mating and other aspects of life cycles

Physiological. (fizz-e-o-LAH-gi-cal) A problem caused by an environmental condition or culture, and not by a disease organism; examples are browned leaves from too much sun or too little water, or stunting from herbicide misuse

Pinching.  Type of heading cut, removing the tip of developing shoots;  applies to very tender growth that can be pinched out with tips of fingers

Pistil.  Female part of the flower, composed of stigma on top that receives the pollen, the style tube, and the enlarged ovary at the bottom

Pit.  Hardened central casing around a seed, such as in cherries, peaches, plums; may be called a “stone” as in stone fruits; botanically a “pyrene”

Pole pruner.  Pruning tool on the end of a long pole, used to prune high branches; pole saw is a version with saw on the end for larger branches; often the two are combined

Pollen.  The orange, yellow or other colored powder on flower anthers containing the male cells, responsible for fertilizing flowers to make seeds and fruit (that are there for the seeds)

Pollenize.   To cross pollinate one flower with another, generally from between different plants; important with many fruits; pollination is the process

Pollinator.  Whatever transfers pollen among flowers—bees, wind, growers

Pollinizer.  The plant or cultivar that produces the pollen, usually to cross pollinate flowers on another plant

Pome fruit.  Type of fleshy fruit that has a core surrounding several seeds, such as apple

Precocious.  (pre-CO-shush) Bearing fruit at a young age relative to others (n. precocity)

Preemergent.  Herbicide or weed killer that kills weed seeds before they emerge, as they germinate

Primocane.  A first year cane or stem of a bramble, generally vegetative only and doesn’t bear fruit (except in fall-bearing, sometimes called primocane-bearing, cultivars)

Protoandrous.  Pollen in male flowers is shed before stigma in female flowers is receptive, as in Type 1 pecans

Protogynous.  Stigma in female flowers is receptive before pollen in male flowers is shed, as in Type 2 pecans

Provenance.  The difference between adaptation to climate among members of the same species that originated from different climate regions

Prune.  To cut off  branches selectively; with grapes, the removal in winter (dormant pruning) of past fruiting wood and excessive growth

Pulp.  See flesh

Receptacle.  See Core

Renewal pruning.  Removing older stems, usually two years old or more, to promote new shoots and growth

Renewal spur.  A cane on grapes cut back to a couple of buds, to be used as the future canes (or renewal canes) for the following year

Ringing.  Like scoring, only removing a wider section of bark as with a pruning saw

Rootstock.  Plant onto which another is budded or grafted; often imparts vigor, hardiness, height or habit, and other traits; may be called understock

Rotation.  Planting of a different crop, or cover crop, in an area for 2 to 3 years before replanting, to lessen insects and diseases

Runner. Term mostly seen with strawberries, referring to stems coming off the main plant from which new plants arise at the tips; a “stolon”

Run-off.  Spraying until it drips from the leaves, providing thorough coverage

Runt out.  Tendency of many spur-type apples to begin producing a small crop of fruit, particularly if on dwarfing rootstocks

Russet.  Type of reddish brown skin that is rough, with natural browning (not from rot), common on some apples and pears; similar to a russet potato; fruit of some cultivars (such as Golden Delicious apple) can get russet due to injury from many causes

Rust.  Disease causing small spots, usually orange, on stems and leaves

Sand.  A course textured soil particle, larger relative to clay particles, a component of many soils

Sanitation.  Keeping grassy areas mown and areas around plants clean of old leaves and fruit, and weeds, where insects and diseases can live and remain over winter.

Scaffold.  A main or primary branch off a trunk that helps form the canopy of trees, and from which may arise lateral branches; important in pruning many fruit trees

Scion.  Part of the desired plant, usually a small stem section, grafted onto another (rootstock)

Scoring.  Cutting through the lower trunk bark, not into the wood, making a slit as with a linoleum knife; used to disrupt the flow of nutrients, promoting less shoot growth and more flower bud formation, on trees such as apples

Scuppernong.  A muscadine grape with light pink to bronze skin, rather than black

Seedling.  Plant grown from seeds (sexual propagation) rather than from grafting or cuttings

Self-fertile.  A plant that is able to pollinate itself (either male and female parts in same flower, or male and female flowers on same plant), so bear fruit without cross pollination

Self-fruitful.  Another way of saying self-fertile

Self-sowing.  When a plant disperses seeds, producing new plants adjacent, often giving the appearance of being perennial, sometimes making the plant invasive

Self-sterile.  Opposite to self-fertile, can’t pollinate itself so needs another plant for cross pollination in order to bear fruit

Shear.  To cut off uniformly as when shaping a hedge, as with pruning shears which resemble large serrated scissors; compare to pruning

Shoot.  Green growth or branch that arises from a bud; can be on branches, trunks, canes or other plant parts; produces leaves, may produce fruit too

Shothole.  When a disease causes leaf spots, which turn brown then fall out leaving a hole, resembling leaves being shot

Shuck. Dried floral remnants in peaches surrounding the newly forming fruit; used as a stage of development when this splits

Sidedress.  add fertilizer along the side of a row of plants

Skeletonize.  When an insect, such as sawfly larvae, eat leaves between the veins, leaving a skeleton appearance

Skin.  The outer covering of fruits which may be eaten for many, although some like to peel them off, and other fruits such as the brown fuzzy kiwi need to be peeled first.

Slipskin.  Type of grape that when skin is squeezed inner pulp slips out; common in muscadines

Slow release.  Fertilizer released over a long period, generally months not weeks; if according to time or temperature it is more accurately a controlled-release

Soaker hose.  Permeable hose through which water drips along its length, providing water at plant bases, form of drip irrigation

Soil type.  See soil texture

Soil texture.  Proportion or ratio of sizes of soil particles, or of sand, silt, and clay; see loam as an example; sometimes called soil type, but this refers to a soil classification

Soilless.  Growing medium not containing soil; often peat moss and other components such as pine bark, perlite, or vermiculite

Solarization. (so-lar-eh-ZA-shun) Heating of soil under a plastic sheet by sunlight in order to kill nematodes and weed seeds

Sour.  acidic soil pH

Splitting.  See Cracking

Sport.  Mutation that is propagated clonally, or vegetatively, to get it to reproduce; may relate to fruit color, tree shape, leaf variegation, or other trait; often seen with apple selections, where they are called types or strains

Spur.  A short side-branch off of lateral or scaffold branches, that bears fruit; common in tree fruits such as apples, cherries; with apples, some cultivars such as the Delicious have spur and non-spur types; in grapes, a cane cut back to usually one or two buds, and less than six, that will be what produces the fruit

Spur blight. A disease causing small, dark spots on lower parts of raspberry canes that turn canes brown and abort flowers; a problem more in rainy seasons  

Spur pruning.  Grape pruning system, cutting back fruiting canes each winter, leaving only 2 to 3 buds on each spur, and leaving the main branches (cordons) along wires

Stamen.  Male part of the flower, composed of anther on top with the pollen, and the filament tube

Sterilization.  Making surfaces free of disease, such as dipping pruners in a solution of one part bleach to 9 parts water, in between pruning cuts.

Stigma.  The top of the female part of the flower (pistil) that receives the pollen

Stolon. See runner

Stone fruit.  Fruits such as cherries, peaches, plums with a central pit or “stone”—fruits known as drupes botanically

Stooling.  Propagating a plant by piling soil or compost around the base, in which new roots form from stems, allowing the plant to be divided the following spring

Strain.  See “sport”

Strig.  Delicate, drooping flower stem several inches long, on currants and gooseberries; may refer to the fruit cluster too

Strike.  See “flagged shoot”

Style.  The tube of the female flower part (pistil) through which the pollen grows from stigma to ovary

Sucker. Shoots arising away from plants, from buds on underground stems or roots; gives rise to spreading; may be undesirable if from an understock on grafted or budded plants; also may arise from old woody growth, as the base of a trunk; see “water sprout”

Sweet.  alkaline soil pH, see Basic

Table grape.  A grape grown for eating fresh or making jams and pies,  rather than for squeezing into wine or juice

Tendril.  Modified curling shoot that vines, such as grapes, use to attach to and hang onto wires or trellises; arises opposite a leaf on a stem

Thinning (to thin).  Removing or pruning out branches in order to allow more light and air circulation within a plant canopy; also refers to removing some fruit in order to allow remaining ones to ripen more fully, may be done by hand or chemicals; type of pruning cut removing a whole limb, rather than just "heading back"

Tilth.  Refers to the condition of the soil structure and nutrients; a loose, friable soil as after tilling, with good water drainage and aeration, is said to have good tilth

Tipping.  Term sometimes used to refer to pruning out the tip of a stem or shoot, or “pinching”, often removing 2 to 6 inches

Tissue culture.  Propagation of a plant starting with only a few cells or piece of tissue, grown in a sterile medium of growth substances and hormones

Top-dress.  add fertilizer or compost to the top of the soil around plants

Topping.  Shearing a tree or plant straight across in a level horizontal plane, which is fine for hedges but little else; the temptation of many when a tree gets too tall

Topworking.  Grafting a new cultivar onto the limbs of a tree, rather than just to a lower trunk of a rootstock with no top

Training.  Manipulation through pruning and physical means (tying for instance), to position and spread branches into desired locations and directions; used to develop stronger branch angles, and to allow more light; with grapes, the positioning of young growth on a trellis system

Trellis.  See arbor.

Trunk.  Primary stem, often wide and usually upright, of plants to which branches are attached; permanent and woody, aboveground; vines may have several trunks

Type.  often seen with several apple cultivars, see “sport”; may generally refer to tree size or use

Understock.  See rootstock

Variety. A botanical designation for closely related plants within a species, sharing similar traits such as flowering or habit; commonly, but incorrectly, often applied to cultivars which arise from, or are maintained through, cultivation

Vegetative.  Non-flowering growth as in stems and leaves; also refers to type of propagation not by seeds, such as from tissue culture or cuttings or layering

Veraison. (vay-ray-ZON ) Stage of grape ripening when berries begin coloring and softening

Vermiculite.  Heat-expanded mica, gray material, used in soilless media

Verticillium. (ver-ti-SILL-e-um) Common disease on strawberries and brambles, and solanaceous vegetables such as tomatoes; more seen in cool, humid seasons and areas; causes plants and canes to discolor and die; lives in the soil for many years, hence crop rotation is important; no effective cure other than elimination and avoiding

Vigor.  Refers to amount and rate of growth; relative among cultivars, climates, care

Virus.  Disease-causing organism, submicroscopic, needing living cells in order to grow; no chemical controls for as with most other diseases

Vole.  Field mouse, similar to a mouse only stouter, shorter tail and ears

Understock.  Another term for rootstock onto which a desirable plant is budded or grafted

Water sprouts. Vigorous upright stems, often stimulated from major pruning cuts; see “sucker”

Whip.  A young tree with only a central stem, side branches pruned off to promote vigorous upward growth