condition in which the seminal bud inhibits the growth and development of the neighboring lateral buds on the same stem formed during the same season (see crown hierarchy).

Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary
apical dominance (noun)
inhibition of the growth of lateral buds by the terminal bud of a shoot
apical dominance (Wikipedia)

In botany, apical dominance is the phenomenon whereby the main, central stem of the plant is dominant over (i.e., grows more strongly than) other side stems; on a branch the main stem of the branch is further dominant over its own side twigs.

Many conifers show particularly strong apical dominance, strongest of all being in the family Araucariaceae, showing a single erect central trunk with strongly differentiated horizontal branching. Cuttings of Araucariaceae species taken from a side branch will not develop erect growth. Araucaria heterophylla, New Zealand.

Plant physiology describes apical dominance as the control exerted by the terminal bud (and shoot apex) over the outgrowth of lateral buds.

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