Landscaping Terms

Aeration
A method of increasing water and oxygen into compact soil by creating tiny slices or holes throughout the area.

Annual
A plant which grows to maturity and dies within one season; most are frost-sensitive.

Biennial
A plant which produces a vegetable one season, a flower the next season, then dies. For example, parsley.

Bulb
An underground storage component of the plant, containing the stem covered by scales; bulbs are planted similarly to seeds.

Clay
A soil particle which is plate-like, extremely small and may retain nutrients well.

Clod
A lump of clay which is difficult to break apart.

Compost
A soil product created from decomposed garden material, used in flower beds to add nutrients and encourage good growth.

Deciduous
A plant that looses its leaves in the winter.

Defoliation
The process when a plant looses all its leaves.

Dethatching
Removing thatches in grass; removal of the dead grass, commonly with a dethatching machine, or a large rake.

Drainage
The rate that water will pass through soil.

Drought Tolerance
The ability of a plant to thrive without much water.

Evergreen
A plant whose leaves or needles are green year-round.

Fertilizer
A material added to feed plants rich in nutrients, usually nitrogen (often lost with frequent mowing), phosphates and potash.

Fescue
A luxury turf composed of soft compact fine-leafed grasses.

Fungicide
The chemical used to control a fungus-related disease.

Germination
The sprouting of a seed, spore or pollen grain.

Grading
The process of changing the slope level of an area of soil.

Ground Cover
Plants which are low-growing and create a blanket appearance over an area.

Hedge
A variety of shrubs that when planted close together will give a wall-like appearance; often used to separate areas.

Herbacous
Dying down at the end of the growing season.

Herbicide
A chemical used to control weeds.

Inorganic Fertilizer
Manufactured fertilizer from raw materials such as natural gas and phosphate rock, which is much more concentrated than organic fertilizers.

Iron
A mineral used in keeping grass green.

Irrigation
Simply put: watering.

Lime
Calcium material used to raise the pH in soil.

Macronutrients
Essential elements needed in large amounts for healthy plant growth: nitrogen, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, and sulfur.

Micronutrients
Essential elements needed in very small amounts for healthy plant growth: iron, copper, zinc, boron, molybdenum, chlorine, and cobalt.

Mulch
A material used to cover soil for moisture conservation and weed suppression.

Organic Fertilizer
Compounds derived from decomposition of plant and animal products and include blood meal, bone meal, manure, and sewage sludge.

Osmosis
When water travels across a membrane.

Perennial
A plant living for a number of years.

Pesticide
A chemical used to control an organism.

pH
The acidity and alkalinity of soil.

Photosynthesis
The chemical on a green plant which causes it to produce carbohydrates when exposed to light.

Planter
The defined area, commonly raised and composed of wood or concrete, used to grow plants.

Pruning
A method of cutting parts of a plant off to control size, health and appearance.

Refoliate
Term used for when a plant grows new leaves after a leafless period, usually in the spring.

Shocking
Describes the wilting and sometimes loss of leaves after a plant is transplanted to a new area.

Sod
Small areas of turf ready for transplant to new locations. Often used to start a new lawn.

Temperature Tolerance
Cold or heat, the degree at which a plant can handle temperatures and survive.

Thatch
The live or dead layer of roots and stems between the turf of a lawn and the soil. 1/2 inch is helpful, over 1 inch is harmful by keeping out water.

Topiary
A decorative style of plant growth controlled by shaping with pruning or shearing.

Transplant
Moving a plant from one location to another.

Turf
A ground cover of grass which can withstand reasonable traffic.

Variegation
A pattern of leaves that contains either white or yellow markings.