The cell walls of the shoot apical meristem (SAM), containing the stem cell niche that gives rise to the above-ground tissues, are crucially involved in regulating differentiation. It is currently unknown how these walls are built and refined or their role, if any, in influencing meristem developmental dynamics. We have combined polysaccharide linkage analysis, immuno-labeling, and transcriptome profiling of the SAM to provide a spatiotemporal plan of the walls of this dynamic structure. We find that meristematic cells express only a core subset of 152 genes encoding cell wall glycosyltransferases (GTs). Systemic localization of all these GT mRNAs by in situ hybridization reveals members with either enrichment in or specificity to apical subdomains such as emerging flower primordia, and a large class with high expression in dividing cells. The highly localized and coordinated expression of GTs in the SAM suggests distinct wall properties of meristematic cells and specific differences between newly forming walls and their mature descendants. Functional analysis demonstrates that a subset of CSLD genes is essential for proper meristem maintenance, confirming the key role of walls in developmental pathways.