Apical Dominance

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

apical dominance describes plant growth which is greater at the apex of a stem or shoot, suppressing lateral growth further away from the apex, a physiological attribute which helped grapevines survive in forest habitats. In viticulture, the term describes preferential budbreak for the buds nearest the cut end of the cane, which grow earlier and more strongly than those below. To encourage fruitfulness along the entire cane and avoid staggered ripening, some viticulturists use an arched cane training system to promote mid-cane budbreak, bending the cane so that the middle section is higher than the base and the apex, but the benefits are not universally acknowledged. Movement of hormones in the cane prior to budbreak affects these growth responses.