Green thumb with Les Hodge

FLAT OUT: Espalier is a technique which creates a stunning feature in a large garden and is great for small gardens.
FLAT OUT: Espalier is a technique which creates a stunning feature in a large garden and is great for small gardens.

Autumn is the perfect time to plant trees and shrubs as growth is slowing down but the soil is still warm enough for the roots to settle in before the cold weather arrives.

If you are planning to plant a new tree or shrub, you may find some horticultural terminologies describing the many forms unfamiliar. 

The most common examples I will endeavor to explain for you.

The most asked question is what is the difference that distinguishes a tree from a shrub?  

Tree means a woody perennial plant with a single tall stem and branches well above ground level. 

If it divides into several stems at or below the ground it’s a shrub.

Trunk is the main stem of a tree which the branches grow from, while the leader is the main shoot growing at the very top of the trunk. 

The leader is sometimes cut back to reduce apical dominance so the plant will branch out from below to make a more compact subject.

A lateral is a side shoot.  

prostrate plant lays flat on the ground with all growth extending out to the sides.  

Fastigiate trees are erect and tapering in habit while columnar is a tall, cylindrical-shaped tree. 

Decumbent trees have branches lying prostrate on the ground with tips turning up.  

Standard is a plant pruned into a small tree-like form with a single, upright clean trunk topped by a rounded crown of foliage. 

An Espalier is a plant trained with its trunk and branches flattened to grow in one horizontal dimension against a wall or trellis, while pleaching is the art of weaving and plaiting branches together to form a hedge or arbor. 

Topiary is the technique for pruning trees and shrubs into formal shapes.

Field-grown trees have been growing in the ground and, while dormant, are dug up and sold as bare-rooted plants.

Many fruit trees are sold as bare-rooted stock.

Crown generally describes the upper branching part of the tree, sometimes called the canopy. 

A scion is a bud or shoot removed from the parent plant for budding or grafting onto another plant and stock is the rootstock or stem onto which the scion is grafted

The union is the place on a grafted tree where the grafted stem or scion is attached.  

When planting always keep this union above the ground, except in the case of lilacs when the union must be planted below the soil surface. 

Small plants growing in tiny pots are called slim lines or tube stocks and are usually seedlings used in large landscaping projects.  

This story Understand the garden language first appeared on The Border Mail.