Absorption (plant): The entrance or taking-in of a chemical or nutrient into the plant.
Acid soil: A soil whose reaction is less than pH 7.
Aeration (soil): The movement or exchange of air between the soil and the atmosphere.
Aerification (soil): The mechanical removal of soil cores to improve soil air exchange.
Aerobic: The presence of air (oxygen) within an environment, in contrast to anaerobic conditions which is the absence of oxygen.
Alkaline soil: A soil whose reaction is greater than pH 7.
Amine: A phenoxy herbicide formulation that is less prone to vaporizing and potentially moving off-site than the ester form. Also see phenoxy herbicides, ester.
Anaerobic: The absence of air (or free oxygen) within an environment. See aerobic.
Analysis: Determination of chemical components.
Annual: A plant completing its normal growth cycle in one year or less.
Annual plant: A plant completing its normal growth cycle in one year or less.
Annual, summer: A plant that completes its normal growth cycle, beginning from seed, in one growing season.
Annual, winter: A plant that begins growth in the fall, survives over winter, flowers, produces seed and dies the following season.
Biennial: A plant whose normal growth cycle spans two growing seasons. Many biennials produce roots and a cluster of leaves near the surface of the ground the first year; flower, produce seed and die the second year.
Blade (leaf): The flattened portion of the leaf projecting outward from the main shoot axis and located above the sheath.
Blend (seed): A combination of two or more varieties (cultivars) of a single turfgrass species.
Breakdown processes: Refers to the chemical and/or microbial actions in the soil responsible for the decomposition of various organic residues, including most pesticides.
Broadcast application: Uniform distribution of a pesticide or fertilizer over an entire area.
Broadleaf: A term applied to nongrass-like plants; often used in the context of weed control. Examples include dandelion and white clover.
Broadleaf herbicide: A weed killer designed to specifically kill broadleaf plants.
Bunch-type growth: Plant development through the formation of clusters of tillers (shoots) at or near the soil surface. Rhizomes or stolons are absent.
Burn: Chemical burns caused by overfertilizing.
Calibrating: The process of checking a mechanical applicator, such as a fertilizer spreader, to insure that it will accurately deliver the right amount of material to the right amount of area.
Carbohydrate: Chemical compounds composed of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. Examples include starch, sugar, and cellulose.
Chlorosis: Absence of the green pigment chlorophyll from plant leaves usually due to environmental or genetic factors.
Clippings: Leaf blades and, in some cases, stems and sheaths, cut off by mowing. Decompose readily due to their relatively high water content and generally simple chemical compounds.
Cool-season turfgrass: Turfgrass species whose growth is favored during the cooler portions (60? - 75?F) of the growing season (spring and fall); may become dormant, injured or even killed during hot, dry weather.
Compaction (of soil): Increase in soil density through destruction of its pore space, as by excessive traffic or working the soil especially impenetrable when dry.
Complete fertilizer: Any fertilizer product containing at least nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
Complete metamorphosis: An insect life cycle going through the 4 distinct stages of egg, larva, pupa and adult. The larva stages include several important turfgrass pests associated with caterpillars, grubs and maggots.
Compost: Partially to completely decomposed organic materials. It is typically made by piling a mixture of grass clippings, leaves, etc., in a mound and, periodically stirring and mixing the pile hastening the decomposition process.
Contact herbicide: A weed killer that kills primarily by contact with plant tissues.
Crop: In this definition, crop refers to percent by weight of all seeds contained in a seed package normally considered to be grown as an agriculture crop, including hay.
Crown: A tightly compressed stem-like structure or growing point that pushes new leaves upward as they form and grow. In lawn grasses it is located at the base of the plant at or near the soil line. The location of the crown allows regular mowing to be done while not compromising the plants ability to regrow.
Cultivar: A group of cultivated plants distinguished by various features such as growth habit or leaf form that, when reproduced through seed or vegetative means, retain their distinguishing features.
Cultivation: As applied to turf, cultivation means working the soil and/or thatch without destroying the entire lawn surface; examples of cultivation include coring, slicing, spiking.
Cultural practices: Various horticultural methods and techniques used to care for plants in the yard and garden. Examples include watering, fertilizing, mowing, weeding, and edging.
Damage threshold level: The lowest amount of a pest population where unacceptable levels of damage occur. Used to determine when, if any, pesticides are applied to control a pest population.
Decomposition: The rotting or decaying of a organic substance.
Disease: An interaction between a grass plant, pathogen and its environment that results in abnormal growth and/or appearance.
Dormant: A condition of significantly reduced activity where little if any growth occurs and where rates of physiological activities, like photosynthesis, are minimal or non-existent.
Drought: Extended periods of dry weather often causing moderate to severe stress in turf. It can be particularly damaging when combined with high temperatures.
Drought tolerance: The grass plant's ability to withstand extended periods of dry conditions with incurring permanent damage. See also tolerance.
Ecosystem (turfgrass): The interaction of a turfgrass community with other plants, animals and their surrounding environment.
Endophyte: A plant living and functioning within another plant. For example, a fungus.
Environment: The sum of all the physical, chemical and biological components to which an organism is subjected. Soil, water, air, plants, animals, and human beings comprise the environment to which turfgrass communities are subjected.
Eradicate: To completely eliminate something from an area or the environment.
Erosion: The wearing away and transport of soil from land areas by wind or running water.
Establishment, turf: Continual root and shoot growth following seed germination, sodding or sprigging needed to form a mature turf area.
Ester: A phenoxy herbicide formulation that is more prone to vaporizing and potentially moving off-site than the amine form. Also see phenoxy herbicides, amine.
Evaporation: Water loss back to the atmosphere through the vaporization of water.
Fertilizer: Nutrient supplements that stimulate and maintain healthy plant growth. The most common nutrients contained in fertilizers are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
Fertilizer analysis: The amount of each nutrient in a fertilizer container expressed as percent of the total weight.
Fertilizer burn (foliar burn): Plant injury (and usually death) caused by desiccation of tissue due to contact with high concentrations of certain fertilizers.
Fibrous roots: Profusely branched roots consisting of many lateral rootlets and usually no main or taproot development.
Fungi: Organisms which live off dead or living plants or animals.
Fungicide: A pesticide used to destroy or suppress fungi.
Fungus: (pl. fungi) A non-vascular (i.e., plants that do not contain water and nutrient conducting vessels) plant that lacks chlorophyll. Some examples are: mushrooms, molds, rusts, and yeasts.
Germination: Sprouting of the root and shoot from a seed when environmental conditions are favorable.
Granular: Pesticide or fertilizer formulations in which the active ingredient or nutrient is attached to small, dry particles of some inert carrier such as clay or ground corn cobs.
Grass: A common name for members of the Grass (Gramineae) family of plants.
Groundcover: A horticultural term applied to low-growing vegetation covering the ground; usually refers to broadleaf plants rather than lawn grasses.
Herbaceous: Plants with nonwoody stems normally dying back to the ground in the fall.
Herbicide: A specific category of pesticides used for controlling weeds.
High-maintenance lawn: Lawn areas composed of turfgrass species and varieties requiring higher levels of water, fertilizing and mowing to remain healthy.
Host plant: Any plant that provides nutrition (and possibly shelter) for a plant pest to survive. That is, any plant that an insect or pathogen lives on is a host plant.
Insecticide: A specific category of pesticides used for controlling insects.
Inorganic (fertilizer): Products used for supplying nutrients to a lawn; generally composed of simple, mostly water soluble nutrient salts that are immediately available for plant use following post-application watering.
Irrigation: The use of automated or manual systems for applying supplemental water for the benefit of growing plants and replenishing soil moisture.
Label: A printed statement attached to the pesticide or fertilizer container by the manufacturer listing the contents, directions for use, and precautions. A pesticide label is considered a legal document that is approved and registered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the State Department of Agriculture.
Larva: The immature or worm stage (e.g., caterpillars, maggots, and grubs) of an insect that goes through 4 distinct lifecycle stages (i.e., egg, larva, pupa, adult) in its development. (See complete metamorphosis.)
Lawn: That portion of a yard or land area covered with grass plants kept short through mowing.
Leaching: The downward movement in water of pesticides and/or nutrients through the soil column.
Ligule: A straplike structure, such as the corolla of a ray flower or a membranous or hairy appendage between the sheaf and blade of a grass leaf.
Liquid fertilization: A method of applying plant nutrients as a solution of dissolved fertilizer salts.
Low-maintenance lawn: Lawn areas composed of turfgrass species and varieties tolerant of reduced levels of water, fertilizer and mowing while still remaining healthy.
Metamorphosis: A basic change in form; for example, the changing of a grub to an adult beetle or caterpillar into an adult butterfly.
Microbial: Effects associated with the action or influence of microorganisms.
Microorganisms: Living plants or animals (such as bacteria, fungi, or protozoa) that are so small they can be seen only with the aid of a microscope.
Minerals: The inorganic materials that make up a portion of the soil derived from rocks; they are usually of specific composition and crystalline in form.
Mowing: The periodic and usually regular cutting of a lawn area to a specified height for its intended use and function. Accomplished with mowers, either manual or power operated.
Mulch: Non-living material used to cover the soil surface for purposes of controlling weeds, conserving moisture, reducing soil temperatures, and in some instances, improving appearance. Examples are woodchips, compost, and leaves.
Mulching mower: Mowers specifically designed to finely chop grass clippings and forcibly direct them back into the lawn leaving a clean, uniform appearance to the surface.
Nitrogen: An essential nutrient required for plant growth. It is a significant component of plant proteins. Adequate nitrogen produces good green color and vigorous plants. Shortages of nitrogen are usually indicated by yellowing leaves and poor growth. Excess nitrogen can result in unhealthy, lush growth making the plants more vulnerable to environmental stresses such as heat, drought, frost and, increased disease susceptibility.
Non-selective: A term applied to a category of herbicides that does not discriminate in its effect on one type of plant over another. For example, both grasses and broadleaf plants would be injured or killed as opposed to selectively killing broadleaf plants without affecting the grasses in a lawn area.
N-P-K: Chemical symbols for nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K). On a container of fertilizer, these nutrients are always expressed as percentages contained in the package and are always shown in the order N-P-K.
Nutrients (plant): Mineral elements considered essential for plant growth. There are presently 16 minerals known to play essential roles in plant nutrition.
Nutrient release rate: The speed at which plant nutrients, especially N, become available for plant use following application to a lawn. This rate is often determined by the product, water and temperature conditions at the time of application.
Nymph: The immature stage between the egg and adult of some insect groups; nymphs look like the mature adult in form but do not have fully developed wings and are not able to reproduce.
Organic: Chemical compounds containing the element carbon other than the inorganic carbonates. Often refers to any part of, or anything produced by, plants or animals.
Organic matter (soil): A portion of the soil consisting of substances derived from the life and death of plants, plant parts and other soil organisms.
Overseed or overseeding: The process of incorporating seed into an existing lawn area for the purpose of lawn repair or introduction of different grass species.
Pathogen (plant): Usually applied to a microorganism with the capacity to cause a plant disease.
Peat: A partly decomposed plant material found in marshy areas. Identification or origination of parent plant material may still be possible (e.g., sphagnum peat moss).
Perennial: Plants that live two or more years producing flowers and seeds in successive years.
Pest (plant): Any insect, mite, rodent, nematode, fungus, weed, or other organism capable of causing plant stress, injury or death through disease, consumption of the plant or competition.
Pesticide: Any chemical (or mixture of chemicals) or biological agent used to control plant or animal pests in order to protect and/or preserve desirable plants.
Renovate: To restore to a previous condition, revive.
pH (soil): A numerical measure of soil acidity or alkalinity based on the hydrogen ion (H+) concentration in the soil. A pH of 7 indicates neutral conditions (neither acidic or alkaline); above 7 is basic (alkaline), below 7 is acidic.
Phenoxy-type herbicides: A category of systemic weed killers that have a chemical structure composed of six carbon atoms joined together in a ring formation. Two examples are 2,4-D and mecoprop (MCPP).
Phosphorous: One of the major plant nutrients; important in root growth and plant energy functions. The middle number of a fertilizer analysis N-P-K.
Photosynthesis: The chemical plant process where carbohydrates are formed by combining carbon dioxide and water in the presence of light; occurs in the chlorophyll containing parts of the plant (i.e., leaves and stems).
Pollination: The transfer of pollen from the stamen (male portion of the flower) to the stigma (female portion of the flower). May occur within the same flower, different flowers on the same plant or different flowers on different plants.
Postemergence: Generally refers to the application of an herbicide after the weed has emerged (and is usually visible) from the soil.
Potassium: One of the major plant nutrients important in maintaining general plant health and vigor. Often associated with improved stress and disease tolerance. It is the third number in the fertilizer analysis N-P-K. See N-P-K.
Preemergence: Generally refers to the application of an herbicide before the weed emerges from the soil. Target plants are most often not visible above ground at the time of application.
Quick-release nitrogen source: Nitrogen from these sources is available for use by the plant as soon as water is applied and the fertilizer granule dissolves. Can also be applied in liquid formulations. Plant responds with quick green-up and rapid rates of growth.
Renovation, turf: Improving a stand of turf through replanting into an existing lawn area. May also include practices associated with rejuvenation.
Rhizome: An elongated underground stem with scale-like leaves and adventitious roots originating from the nodes (bud containing areas along a stem).
Rhizomatous: A spreading growth habit resulting from the production and elongation of rhizomes.
Root: The fibrous, underground part of a plant associated with mineral and water absorption.
Root zone: That portion of the soil column occupied by plant roots.
Scalping: An undesirable mowing practice that removes an excessive amount of green leaves and shoots at any one mowing. It can seriously weaken or even kill the turfgrass.
Selective: The term usually applied to an herbicide that has the ability to only destroy one type of plant while not affecting others. For example, a postemergence, broadleaf herbicide will kill broadleaf plants (such as dandelions) in the lawn without affecting the grass plants.
Shade: An area of reduced light quantity (and often quality) resulting from the partial or complete obstruction of direct sunlight.
Sheath: The tube shaped, basal section of the grass leaf enclosing the stem.
Shoot: Above ground, vertically oriented growth giving rise to both leafy growth and flowering stems (culms).
Shoot density: The number of shoots contained in a specified area of lawn.
Slit-seeding: The use of a machine known as a slit-seeder to seed a new lawn area or overseed an existing area. Slit-seeders utilize a series of vertically rotating discs to cut small grooves into the soil while depositing seed into the grooves just behind the discs. It is an excellent means of seeding and helps insure the seed-to-soil contact necessary for successful establishment.
Slow-release nitrogen source: Nitrogen from these sources becomes available as the product is broken down by soil microbes and/or chemical action. Plant responds with a slightly slower rate of green-up and growth. Usually this is a desirable characteristic.
Sod: Squares or strips (rolls) of turfgrass cut from a production field and usually with a thin layer of soil still attached that is used for vegetatively installing a turfgrass area.
Soil: The earth's thin upper layer capable of supporting plant growth. It is characterized by such things as texture, structure, color, and fertility which distinguishes it from material like gravel, sand or bedrock that also cover a portion of the earth's surface.
Soil structure: The combining of microscopic soil particles through the action of soil microbes into larger units commonly known as soil granules, crumbs or aggregates. Loose, crumbly soil structure is a must to sustain health plant growth.
Soil test: A scientific analysis of a soil sample that determines its pH, texture, organic matter content and various degrees of chemical composition. They are used to assess a soil's suitability for particular uses and any necessary modifications to prepare it for the intended use.
Soluble (fertilizer): Fertilizers that are made up of easily dissolved components in water which are immediately available for plant use; they can result in lawn "burning" more easily that slow-release fertilizers.
Spot treatment: Generally refers to the application of a pesticide to a limited or small area. In the case of herbicides, it may also be applied to the treating of individual plants.
Stem: The horizontal or vertical axis of a plant supporting leaves, buds and flowers.
Stolon: An elongated stem growing along the ground surface and giving rise to leaves and adventitious roots at the nodes (bud containing areas along a stem).
Stoloniferous: A spreading growth habit resulting from the production and elongation of stolons.
Stress (plant): Usually applied to environmental factors restricting normal or healthy plant growth. Some of these factors are heat, drought, compacted soils, waterlogging and cold.
Thatch: A dense, fibrous layer of living and dead grass stems, leaves, and roots, undecomposed or partially decomposed, that accumulates between the green vegetation and soil surface.
Tiller: A lateral shoot, usually erect, that develops from axillary buds in the crown.
Tolerance: The plant's ability to withstand stresses associated with unfavorable environmental conditions or the application of pesticides.
Topsoil: The upper portion of soil that is generally higher in organic matter in comparison to the subsoil and usually has more favorable characteristics of soil fertility, aeration and structure.
Urea: A quick-release nitrogen fertilizer source. Usually available as 45-0-0 or 46-0-0. It is also described as a synthetic organic fertilizer as it contains the element carbon in its chemical structure.
Vigor (plant): The combination of genetic and environmental factors that determine the rate and amount that a turfgrass species or cultivar is able to grow and spread.
Warm-season turfgrass: Turfgrass species whose optimum growth occurs during the warmer periods (80? - 95? F) of the growing season.
Watering-in: Water applied to turf immediately after the application of some pesticides or fertilizers to dissolve and/or move materials into the soil.
Weed: An undesired, uncultivated plant growing in a manner so as to adversely compete with desirable plants for water, light and nutrients, or destroy aesthetic qualities of a lawn.