Definition of ratoon in US English:



  • A new shoot or sprout springing from the base of a crop plant, especially sugar cane, after cropping.

    • ‘Mother pineapple plants produce two types of suckers - ratoons emerge from below the soil; other suckers develop in the leaf axils.’
    • ‘The plantation would provide seed, ratoons (cane striplings), tools, fertilizer, irrigation, and so on, and would pay a stipulated price for delivered cane.’
    sprout, offshoot, scion, sucker, bud, spear, runner, tendril, sprig, cutting
    View synonyms


[no object]
  • 1(of sugar cane) produce ratoons.

    • ‘Hybridizations were made using ratooning plants from the selected individuals in each generation.’
    • ‘Farmers can also prevent pests and disease build-up in cotton growing by avoiding ratooning.’
    1. 1.1with object Cut down (a plant) to cause it to produce ratoons.
      ‘ratooned plants produce a much earlier crop’
      • ‘The practice of ratooning exploits the perennial tendencies of some land-races and cultivars of sorghum.’


Mid 17th century: from Spanish retoño ‘a sprout’.