The Ultimate Gardening Glossary
This Glossary was written in collaboration by several gardening experts from our family-run turf farm in Ormskirk.
Gardening can seem like a complex topic, particularly for beginners - so we thought it would be a great idea to create the only gardening glossary of terms you will ever need!
- Acid soil – Soils whose reaction is below that of pH 7 on the pH scale (Also see pH).
- Adventitious root – A root that arises from any organ other than primary or seminal roots.
- Aeration, mechanical – within gardening, aerating is the process of providing more oxygen to a lawn by creating spikes. Aerating can also help provide additional nutrients deep within the soil & increase drainage. See cultivation.
- Alkaline soil – Soils whose reaction is that of above pH 7 (Also see pH).
- Annual, summer – Plant that completes its life cycle from seed in one growing season over the summer.
- Annual, winter – Plant that initiates growth during the autumn, lives over winter, and dies after producing seed the following season.
- Apical meristem – Terminal growing point.
- Auricle – Claw-like appendages occurring in pairs appearing at the base of the leaf blade.
- Bench setting – The high at which the bottom blade of a mower is set above a firm level surface. This is an adjustable setting on many lawn mowers.
- Blade – The flattened portion of the leaf located above the sheath.
- Brush – To move a brush against the surface of a turf in order to lift non-vertical stolons and/or leaves before mowing, with the end goal of producing and upright stand of grass. Brushing in different directions can be used to create 'lines' within a lawn.
- Bunch-type growth – Plant developing itself through tillering at or near the soil surface without the production of stolons or rhizomes.
- Carbohydrate – The plants food source, a compound of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, as in sugar, starch and cellulose.
- Castings (Earthworm) – Soil and plant remains excreted by earthworms and deposited on the turf surface or in the burrow; forms a stable soil granule that can be objectionable on mown turf.
- Clippings – Leaves and in some cases stems deposited on the turf surface after mowing.
- Collar – Light-coloured band at the junction of the leaf blade and the leaf sheath.
- Coring – A method of turf cultivation by which soil cores are removed using hollow tines.
- Compaction – The compression of soil particles leading to unfavourable growing conditions for the turf grass plant.
- Creeping growth habit – Plant development by an extravaginal stem growth at or near the soil surface with lateral spreading rhizomes and/or stolons.
- Crown – A highly compressed stem located at the base of a vegetative aerial shoot.
- Culm – Flower stem of the grass plant.
- Cultivar – An assemblage of cultivated plants distinguished by any characters (morphological, physiological, and the like) that when reproduced sexually or asexually retain their distinguishing features..
- Cultivation – Applied to turf, cultivation refers to the working of the soil and/or thatch without destruction of the turf grass surface; for example, coring spiking, or other means.
- Evapotranspiration – The loss of water/moisture from the turf grass leaf and the soil surface to the atmosphere. This is more common on hot days.
- Fertiliser - A solution or solid substance when applied to plants can encourage growth by supplying essential nutrients and increase fertility. Adding to much fertiliser can kill plants & turf, always read the label before application.
- Germinate - The very first stage of a plants life, when a seed begins to sprout & develop shoots and is ready to be planted.
- Irrigation, automatic – Hydraulic-electric control of water application in response to turf grass needs.
- Irrigation, manual – Irrigation using hand set or hand valved equipment.
- Lateral shoot – A shoot originating from a vegetative bud in the axil of the leaf or from the node of a stem, rhizome or stolon.
- Layering, soil – Undesirable stratification within the surface horizons of a soil profile; can be due to construction design, top-dressing with different textured materials or inadequate mixing.
- Leaching – Loss of nutrients (ionic form) through natural drainage of the soil’s solution.
- Ligule – Membranous or hairy appendage on the adaxial side of the grass leaf at the junction of the leaf blade and leaf sheath.
- Liquid fertilisation – A method of applying fertiliser using liquid as the carrier. Applied as a liquid solution.
- Mat – A tightly intermingled layer composing of living and partially decomposed stem and root material and soil that develops below the thatch layer but above the soils surface.
- Micro organism – Minute living organisms such as bacteria or fungi.
- Monocot – Plant having one cotyledon in the seed; grasses are an example.
- Mowing frequency – The number of times a turf grass sward is mown per week, month or growing season.
- Mowing height – The distance above the ground at which the leaf is cut by a mowers blade.
- Mulch – Any non-living material that forms a covering on the turf grass or soil surface.
- Nitrification – Formation of nitrates and nitrites from ammonia by soil micro organisms.
- Node – The joint of a stem; the region of attachment of leaves to a stem.
- pH level– per hydrogen or the negative logarithm of the hydrogen ion concentration of the soil.
- Pollinate - when pollen is taken from one plant to another, for fertilisation purposes as to allow new plant seeds to be produced.
- Root zone – A prepared mixture of minerals and organic matter used as a growth medium for turf grass.
- Rhizome - a plant stem that grows horizontally.
- Seminal root – The primary root.
- Settling, soil – A lowering of the soil surface resulting in a decrease of volume to a soil previously loosened by some form of cultivation (bare soil). Occurs naturally but can be accelerated by mechanically tampering or heeling in the surface after cultivations have taken place.
- Sheath – The tubular basal portion of the leaf enclosing and wrapping around the stem.
- Slowly available fertiliser – Designates a rate of dissolution less than obtained for completely water soluble fertilisers; may involve compounds that dissolve slowly, materials that must be microbially decomposed, or soluble compounds coated with substances highly impermeable to water.
- Soil modification – Alteration of soil characteristics by soil amendment; commonly used to improve physical conditions.
- Soil probe – A cylindrical soil sampling tool with a cutting edge at the lower end.
- Spiking – A method of turf cultivation in which solid tines or flat pointed blades penetrate the turf and soil surface.
- Stand – A number of established individual turf grass genus and species Stolon – An elongated stem (or shoot) that grows along the surface of the ground and from which leaves and adventitious roots develop at the nodes.
- Stomates (Stoma, Stomata) – Openings in the epidermis of leaves and stems that function in the exchange of gases between the atmosphere and the plant.
- Sub-soil – The soil elevation established so that the top-soil placed on t will have the desired thickness and final grade or elevation.
- Texture, leaf – Texture imparted to turf by leaf width and arrangement.
- Texture, soil – The relative proportions of mineral matter found in soil.
- Thatch – A layer of un-decomposed or partially decomposed organic residues situated above the soil surface but below the turf grass leaves. Consists of all parts of the turf grass plant.
- Thatch control – The process of (a) preventing excessive thatch build up by accumulation by cultural manipulation and/or (b) removing excess thatch from a turf surface by either mechanical or biological means.
- Tiller – A lateral shoot, usually erect that develops intravaginally from buds.
- Top-dressing – A prepared soil mix added to the surface of a turf and worked in by brushing, raking and/or irrigating to produce a smooth surface. Firms turf by working soil in among stolons and thatch forming materials. Also enhances thatch decomposition.
- Tufted – See bunch-type Turf – A covering of mown vegetation, usually turf grass, growing intimately with the an upper soil layer of intermingled roots and stems.
- Turf - A species or cultivar of grass, usually of spreading habit, that can be maintained as a mown turf. Turf is usually sold in rolls of 1 metre squared and is known as sod in America.
- Turf grass community – An aggregation of individual turf grass plants that have a mutual relationship with the environment as well a among individual plants.
- Urea formaldehyde – A synthetic slowly soluble nitrogen fertiliser consisting mainly of methylene urea polymers of different lengths and solubility’s; formed by reacting urea and formaldehyde.
- Variety – See cultivar.
- Vertical mower – A mechanical devise with vertically rotating blades that cut into the face of the turf for the purpose of reducing thatch, and improving gaseous exchange.
- Wear – The collective injurious effects of traffic (foot or mechanical) on the turf grass plant.