Epitaxial group-III nitride films, although in single crystalline form, contain still a large number of threading dislocations. These set limits to performance and lifetime of devices, notably to high power structures like lasers. The strategy in material development was and will be (at least until lattice-matched substrates become available) to reduce the dislocation densities. The present contribution elaborates on possible dislocation origination mechanisms that determine the population of dislocations in the epitaxial layers. These mechanisms can be controlled to a certain degree by proper deposition procedures. The achieved dislocation populations then determine the processes that can reduce the dislocation densities during growth of the epitaxial layers. The mutual annihilation of threading dislocations is rather efficient although affected by the glide properties of the growing epitaxial crystal and the thermal stresses during the cooling down after growth.