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Horticulture 1000
HT1101 - Plant management 1 - Plant training
Plant processes Pruning

Plant training

Plant management or husbandry is the care and protection of plants so they grow successfully. Plant training is one management practice carried out to control the shape, size and direction of plant growth.

In the photos you can see several examples of how this is done.

Climbing plants growing up a trellisClimbing plants growing up a trellis.
A coral tree which has been pruned to encourage new growth A coral tree which has been pruned to encourage new growth.
Orchids are trained up stringsOrchids are trained up strings.
A teepee structure for vegetables like beans to grow onA teepee structure for vegetables like beans to grow on.

Reasons for training plants

You train plants to:

How you train plants

Common methods used to train plants include:

Plant support

There are many different systems used to support and grow plants. This is especially true for commercial fruit growing.

Plants are supported to:

Grapes are trained on wires and postsGrapes are trained on wires and posts.
These canes are at a good height for vineyard workers and also for harvesting These canes are at a good height for vineyard workers and also for harvesting. The distance between the rows allows easy access for machinery.
This tree has been well supportedThis tree has been well supported with two stakes and rubber ties. This will help it grow straight and provide protection from the wind.

When plants are staked and tied it is important that:

  • the growing roots will not be damaged
  • the stake is put on the side of the plant that the main wind blows from
  • the stake in the ground won’t move around and pull on the plant
  • the tie will not damage the plant (use garden twine or old pantyhose, for example).

Remember that the plant will grow, so the tie should be firm enough to prevent rubbing but not too tight.



Pinching the terminal bud on a basil plant

Stopping or pinching is the removal of the terminal bud at the tip of the stem. This makes the side shoots grow stronger and gives a bushier plant. Tomatoes, basil and cucumbers can be trained this way.


Disbudding a chrysanthemum plant

Disbudding is the removal of lateral flower buds from a plant. This is done on carnations and chrysanthemums to help long stems develop. It also means more of the plants energy is put into the one remaining flower. This flower will end up larger in size.

On tomatoes it is done to encourage upward growth and fruiting.



Thinning apples

Thinning is the removal of some fruit, so that those left are bigger and of better quality, because they have more room to grow, and receive more nutrients, water and light. You can do this by hand, or by using tools called thinning shears. On commercial orchards, growers use special chemicals to thin the fruit. This is done with many fruits including apples, pears, stone fruit and grapes.

Root vegetable like carrots are also thinned so they have more space to grow and less competition from other plants.



Hydrangeas are commonly pruned to keep them in shape and improve floweringHydrangeas are commonly pruned to keep them in shape and improve flowering.

Pruning is the removal of parts of a plant.

This is done to:

  • control the shape of the plant
  • improve flowering or fruiting
  • make it easier to harvest fruit.

Activity 3ADrag the name of each of the training practices to the corresponding pictures.


Complete Activity 3B in your workbook

Key points   Key points

  • Plant training is controlling the direction, shape and size of plants.
  • Buds are young shoots that become leaves, flowers or branches.
  • A grower trains plants to improve flower or plant appearance and management, improve flower and fruit  size and quality and to protect plants from damage.
  • Training plants is done by supporting, thinning, stopping, disbudding and pruning.

What's next?

Go to: 4 Pruning.

Plant processes Pruning