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Application Pruning & Resource Deletion

All Application resources created by the ApplicationSet controller (from an ApplicationSet) will contain:

  • A .metadata.ownerReferences reference back to the parent ApplicationSet resource
  • An Argo CD finalizer in .metadata.finalizers of the Application if .syncPolicy.preserveResourcesOnDeletion is set to false.

The end result is that when an ApplicationSet is deleted, the following occurs (in rough order):

  • The ApplicationSet resource itself is deleted
  • Any Application resources that were created from this ApplicationSet (as identified by owner reference)
  • Any deployed resources (Deployments, Services, ConfigMaps, etc) on the managed cluster, that were created from that Application resource (by Argo CD), will be deleted.
    • Argo CD is responsible for handling this deletion, via the deletion finalizer.
    • To preserve deployed resources, set .syncPolicy.preserveResourcesOnDeletion to true in the ApplicationSet.

Thus the lifecycle of the ApplicationSet, the Application, and the Application's resources, are equivalent.


See also the controlling resource modification page for more information about how to prevent deletion or modification of Application resources by the ApplicationSet controller.

It is still possible to delete an ApplicationSet resource, while preventing Applications (and their deployed resources) from also being deleted, using a non-cascading delete:

kubectl delete ApplicationSet (NAME) --cascade=orphan


Even if using a non-cascaded delete, the is still specified on the Application. Thus, when the Application is deleted, all of its deployed resources will also be deleted. (The lifecycle of the Application, and its child objects, are still equivalent.)

To prevent the deletion of the resources of the Application, such as Services, Deployments, etc, set .syncPolicy.preserveResourcesOnDeletion to true in the ApplicationSet. This syncPolicy parameter prevents the finalizer from being added to the Application.