Glossary of fruit tree terms meaning



Glossary of fruit tree terms meaning


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Glossary of fruit tree terms meaning



Aerial crown gall       A disease which causes a large rough swelling on the above-ground trunk or lower branches weakening or killing the branch.

Axillary                     Usually describes the bud joint between the leaf stem and the shoot.

Balance                     Where the branches and the fruit wood are evenly distributed in size and amount around the tree.

Blight                        A fungus disease which kills the buds and shoots in peaches in the early spring

Borer                         Any one of several insects which bore into the trunk, branches, or shoots of a fruit tree.  Sometimes the tree oozes a gum from these holes.


Breakage                   The breaking of limbs or branches because too much fruit has been carried.

Brown rot                  Our most serious fungus disease.  It attacks blossoms, buds, shoots, and fruit on most common fruit trees.

Bud union                  The joint or elbow where the variety was budded

Bulk pruned               Where a few large pruning cuts are made instead of a number of smaller ones; usually smaller branches or hangers.

Canker                      A patch of depressed, diseased tissue on the branches, shoots or around the buds.  This is often oozing with fluid and attracts insects.

Central leader            A tree where the main branch goes straight up the center.  A tree much like a Christmas tree framework.

Chlorosis                   A condition in which the leaves of the tree turn bright yellow.

Crotch                       The Y-shaped joint formed where two branches come together
Crown                       The base of the tree trunk at or below the ground level and where the roots develop.

Crown gall                 A disease which causes a rough gall or swelling at the crown of the tree and sometimes encircles and kills it.

Dieback                     Where, for any reason, the shoots or branches die back from the tips or ends.

Dormant                    The period between leaf fall and spring when there is no growth in the tree.

Fine prune                 Pruning out only the small shoots or twigs.

Framework                The trunk and main branches or “frame” on which the fruit wood is found.

Fruit wood                 The smaller wood or spurs on which the fruit is actually grown.

Fruit buds                  The buds which are usually larger or “fatter” and which produce the blossoms and the fruit.

Graft union                The joining or junction where the top was grafted to the root stock.  This is commonly and easily seen where the English or black walnuts are grafted.

Gumming                   The yellow to brown gum which oozes and hardens on the trunk, branches, or fruit.  It may be a sign of insect or disease damage or simply the nature of the tree.

Hanger                      The long, hanging branches most commonly found on a peach on which the fruit wood is borne.

Heavy prune              When a large amount of wood has been pruned out of a tree.  It make look “skinned”.

Head                         The height at which the tree is pruned back or “headed”.

Health                       Freedom from disease, insect damage, or injury.

Laterals                     Side shoots coming from a branch.

Lateral buds               Side buds on a branch or shoot from which the blossoms or side shoots develop.

Leggy                        A long branch with little or no side growth coming from it.

Little leaf                   A fairly common zinc deficiency disease which causes dwarfing of the shoots and leaves, the leaves generally being a pale yellow-green.

Mechanical damage    Bark knocked off by a disk or branches broken or injured by the tractor, truck, or wind.

Mummies                   The dried and shriveled fruits left hanging on the tree or on the ground.  They are often serious sources of disease.

Mildew                      A grayish white fungus disease found on the leaves, shoots, and fruit, commonly on the peach and the grape.

Modified central         Where a strong central branch is maintained part
leader                        way to the head of the tree before complete branching is allowed to develop.

Nutrient deficiency     A general lack of vigor or growth in the tree because of lack of fertility.  Nitrogen deficiency shows up on poor growth and pale, yellow-green leaves.

Node                         A joint on a shoot from which the bud or leaf arises.

New wood                  Shoot growth produced during the past season.

Peach leaf curl           A fungus disease which makes the leaves of peach or nectarine grow distorted and discolored and finally fall in the spring.

Primary scaffolds       The main support branches which are developed directly out of the tree trunk.

Pruning                     Any removal or cutting out of wood from the tree.

Red spider                 Really a mite, a tiny 8-legged insect-like creature which sucks fluid from the leaves or shoots and can cause serious damage.
Scale                         An insect with a soft or hard shell which attaches itself to the branch or shoot and sucks out the fluids.

Secondary scaffolds    The main branches which are developed out of the primary scaffolds.

Set                             The amount of blossoms or fruit held on the tree.

Shoot                         Wood which is usually not over one or two years old and is longer than the short, stubby spur growth.

Shothole                    A fungus disease causing the “shot” holes in the leaves of almonds and damaging the buds and shoots as well.

Spread                       The distance the branches spread up and out from the trunk.

Spur                          The short, stubby growth on which the fruit is borne as in almonds.

Stubs                         Short ends of branches or shoots left after pruning.

Sunburn                     The damage caused by the hot summer sun on the branches, “cooking”, destroying the bark and tissues.

Symmetry                   The uniformity as seen in the training and shaping of the tree.  Closely related to balance.

Terminal bud             The bud on the end of a shoot or spur.

Twig borer                 A small caterpillar which enters the tender shoot tip as it starts growing, causing the leaves to die and the tip to die back.  It can be found in the fruit.


Basal bud                  A bud that lies at the base of a cane or spur as part of a whorl.  Small in size, basal buds do not usually grow unless the distal buds fall.

Bearing units             Wood for the production of fruit and new wood or fruit.

Bilateral cordon         A system of vine training that divides the trunk into two branches and extends them horizontally on a supporting wire.  Commonly referred to as cordon training.

Cane pruning             Long bearing units retained.

Cap stem                   That portion of the bunch structure that bears the individual berries.  Botanically, a pedicel.

Capacity                    Quality or condition that is expressed in rapid growth and total crop of which the vine or a part of it is capable.  (Ability for total production).

Clone                        A group of vines of a uniform type propagated vegetatively from an original mother vine.

Crown suckering        The practice of removing unwanted shoot growth from the vine head and trunk while the shoots are still succulent.  Commonly called suckering.

Degrees balling          A measure of the total soluble solids content of grapes, approximately the percentage of grape sugars in the juice.

Dormant period          Between leaf fall and the starting of the buds in the spring.

Half-long pruning       Bearing units of intermediate length are retained.

Harvesting                 Removal of ripe fruit.

Head system               Trunk has a definite head, from which all the branches or arms arise symmetrically at nearly the same level.

Internode                   That section of shoot or cane growth occurring between adjacent nodes.

Lateral                      A branch of the main axis of the cluster.

Lenticel                     A tiny, round, slightly raise, porelike spot found on grape berries and pedicels.

Overcropping             The practice of allowing more bunches to develop than the vine can bring to maturity at the normal harvest period.  Often brought about by underpruning – retaining too many units – by stress, or by insects or disease.

Peduncle                    A botanical term for the cluster stem.

Pruning                     The removal of living canes, shoot, leaves and other vegetative parts of the vine.

Renewal Spurs           For renewal or the production of wood for the next year.

Replacement Spurs     for the replacing or shortening of arms.

Shouldered                 Wide development of the basal laterals of a cluster to give a significantly larger dimension to that portion of the cluster.

Spur Pruning             Short bearing units retained

Thinning                    Removal of flower clusters, immature clusters, or part of immature clusters

Training                    Certain practices that are supplementary to pruning and necessary for shaping the vine.

Vine Vigor                 Strictly speaking, vigor refers to rapid shoot development.  In this publication, it is used to denote not only rate of shoot growth, but also total vine growth (capacity).

Vigor                         Quality or condition that is expressed in rapid growth of the parts of the vine (rate of growth).

Wing                         A well-developed cluster lateral that projects and appears separated from the main body of the cluster.




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Glossary of fruit tree terms meaning