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The goal of the LEAF Network is to connect people with the benefits of edible trees, and to connect edible trees with the stewardship of people.


Click Here for a PDF of GLOSSARY

  • Active water harvesting. Collection of rainwater off catchment surfaces into a tank (sometimes called a cistern) to store water for later use.
  • Caliche. A hard, chalky white soil layer high in calcium carbonate, which adheres soil particles together and prevents good drainage and root growth.
  • Chill requirements. The number of hours at temperatures between 32°F and 45°F that trees need in winter to stimulate proper bud growth, fruit set and fruit development.
  • Curb cuts. Gaps cut in street or parking lot curbs to allow water to pass from streets or parking lots to an adjacent right-of-way or other planting areas.
  • Deciduous trees. Trees that drop leaves in winter (note some trees drop leaves during drought and are called “drought deciduous”).
  • Dioecious trees. Individual trees of a species can be either male or female, but a single tree does not contain both male and female flowers, nor flowers with both male and female parts.
  • Drip line. The outer perimeter of a tree canopy where raindrops “drip” down from the leaves. The soil under the drip line is where roots are actively growing and the best place to water.
  • Dwarf and semi-dwarf trees. Trees created through breeding or by grafting cuttings onto rootstocks that do not allow them to reach full size.
  • Edible tree. For purposes of this Guide, native and nonnative trees that produce fruits, nuts, seeds and pods that suit human tastes.
  • Firewise Communities. A program to recognize communities that take action to prepare and protect their homes against wildlife threats. See information at: http://www.firewise.org/usa-recognition-program.aspx
  • Microclimates. Small localized climatic conditions that may be warmer, colder, dryer, wetter, windier or calmer than other areas of the site.
  • Mulch. A cover put over soil to reduce water loss to evaporation, consisting of organic material including composted leaves or wood chips or inorganic materials such as gravel or rocks

  • Multistory planting. A combination of “overstory” trees, “midstory” shrubs and “understory” plants placed within the same planting area to create a diverse “multistory” structure providing mutual benefits such as shading, soil enrichment and habitat.
  • Native edible trees. Edible trees that grow naturally in the wildlands of Arizona without the need for human care.
  • Nonnative edible trees. Edible trees that have been introduced to Arizona from other areas of the world.
  • Passive water harvesting. Collection and infiltration of rainfall and water runoff directly into the ground, often in depressions shaped in the soil around trees.
  • Plugging. A hole that forms in the skin of a fruit because the stem pulls away when the fruit is picked.
  • Pollination. The transfer of pollen from the male part of a flower (stamen) to the female part of a flower (pistil) either in the same flower, or in another flower, so the plant produces fruits, nuts, seeds or pods.
  • Potable water. Water of suitable quality for drinking and cooking.
  • Propagation. The process of creating new trees from seeds, cuttings, grafting, layering and other techniques.
  • Rain. For purposes of this Guide, “rain” is used as a general term for precipitation, including rainfall, snowfall, sleet and other forms of precipitation.
  • Right-of-way. A narrow strip of publically owned land located adjacent to streets, where sidewalks are sometimes located. If it is legally permissible, stormwater runoff from the street could be diverted through curb cuts to support edible trees planted on these right-of-ways.
  • Root flare. The area at the base of a tree’s trunk where a tree’s roots begin to grow underground.
  • Runoff. Rainfall and other forms of precipitation that drain off a structure or landscape.
  • Tree cultivar. A variety of tree that originated or has persisted in cultivation by people, sometimes through selective breeding.
  • Tree variety. Taxonomic subdivisions of tree species with differing characteristics.

CAUTION: Never eat anything that is not properly identified. It is your responsibility to ensure that all fruits, nuts, seeds, pods and other edible products of trees and shrubs are correctly identified and safe to eat before eating them or serving them to others.

Copyright 2023

LEAF is under the fiduciary stewardship of the Arizona Community Tree Council, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

70 S Val Vista Drive, Suite A3-186, Gilbert, AZ  85296


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