Small regulatory RNAs are fundamental in eukaryotic and prokaryotic gene regulation. In plants, an important element of post-transcriptional control is effected by 20–24 nt microRNAs (miRNAs) and short interfering RNAs (siRNAs) bound to the ARGONAUTE1 (AGO1) protein in an RNA induced silencing complex (RISC). AGO1 may cleave target mRNAs with small RNA complementarity, but the fate of the resulting cleavage fragments remains incompletely understood. Here, we show that SKI2 , SKI3 and SKI8 , subunits of a cytoplasmic cofactor of the RNA exosome, are required for degradation of RISC 5', but not 3'-cleavage fragments in Arabidopsis . In the absence of SKI2 activity, many miRNA targets produce siRNAs via the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase 6 (RDR6) pathway. These siRNAs are low-abundant, and map close to the cleavage site. In most cases, siRNAs were produced 5' to the cleavage site, but several examples of 3'-spreading were also identified. These observations suggest that siRNAs do not simply derive from RDR6 action on stable 5'-cleavage fragments and hence that SKI2 has a direct role in limiting secondary siRNA production in addition to its function in mediating degradation of 5'-cleavage fragments.