Definition of sapling in US English:



  • 1A young tree, especially one with a slender trunk.

    • ‘Now, as a mature garden, the trees, mere saplings when planted, are fully grown.’
    • ‘According to the organisers the various oak, ash, hazel and other indigenous tree saplings will take about 10 years to begin looking like a wood and a lot longer to mature.’
    • ‘The culprits skidded round the green in a Peugeot car before crashing into a tree sapling and running off.’
    • ‘Buck rubs were a common sight on fruit trees and saplings in the fencerows and woodlots.’
    • ‘With such a short growing season, 200-year-old trees look like saplings.’
    • ‘Cover crops such as redtop grass keep competing natural vegetation in check and allow oak saplings to flourish.’
    • ‘To stabilize new saplings and tree roses from bending in the wind, you often need to tie them to a stake.’
    • ‘With young saplings obvious in many hedgerows throughout the country, this message has had some success.’
    • ‘Cape ivy harms willows by overgrowing saplings and blocking out light the trees need to survive.’
    • ‘Watch for larger saplings and young trees to noticeably increase in girth and height, but you'll have to look closely to see the nearly imperceptible addition of one or two annual rings on bigger trees.’
    • ‘All ages of trees, from saplings to the old-timers, create a multistoried canopy allowing light to enter the gaps and stimulate new growth.’
    • ‘The forestry people have very generously agreed to supply every home in Clonmore parish with oak saplings and holly trees for Christmas.’
    • ‘The plantation of tree saplings for any occasion has now become ceremony for not only politicians but also officials and others.’
    • ‘Walk through one and you will see little in the half-light apart from the trunks of trees and tangled saplings.’
    • ‘The nursery has expanded to include a tree nursery where saplings are grown on to maturity for sale.’
    • ‘More mature trees will drop seeds and create younger saplings, and the villagers in-game will harvest older trees rather than younger ones.’
    • ‘Early one misty morning, with clouds hanging across the valley, we load cedar saplings onto the tractor.’
    • ‘Rarely seen boulders jutted out from the brown surface of the Danube and grasses and tree saplings sprouted up in the dried mud at the foot of the city's stone river banks.’
    • ‘We cannot go up into the upper atmosphere and pump ozone back in the ozone holes, neither can we plant a sapling for every tree cut in the past ten years.’
    • ‘Caging tree saplings and young shrubs is a good option where you have just a few to protect.’
    1. 1.1literary A young and slender or inexperienced person.
      • ‘He is a lawyer who has served ShrubCo since he was a sapling in Texas.’


Middle English: from the noun sap + -ling.