Glossary of 200 Landscaping and Gardening Terms

A-Z Definition

  1. Abreuvoir – A watering structure intended as a water source for both humans and animals. Nowadays, it is typically found in gardens as an ornament.
  2. Accent plant – Any type of plant positioned near a grouping of other plants in order to create interest or capture attention.
  3. Acid medium – A type of compost that is devoid or contains little lime and has a pH level that falls below 6.5. Gardeners also refer to it as “sour” soil.
  4. Acid rain – Rainwater that is unusually acidic. It is caused by the chemical reaction of compounds like sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides mixing with water, oxygen, and other chemicals in the air.
  5. Acid soil – Any kind of soil that has a pH of less than 7.0. Individual plants that thrive in acidic soil include gardenias, willow oaks, and calladium, among others.
  6. Acre – An area of land that measures 43,560 square feet.
  7. Adventitious – Root growth occurring from any point other than the root as from a stem or a leaf.
  8. Aeration – The process of piercing holes to the soil to increase its air content and for nutrients to reach plants better. A pitchfork is usually used in this process.
  9. Aerial Root – Roots that develop above the surface such as with orchids that take water directly from the air.
  10. Aggregate – Sand, crushed stone, and gravel used in the manufacturing of concrete mixtures such as mortar and concrete with a textured finish
  11. Aggregate culture – A method that uses solid materials such as gravel, sand, and rockwool to grow plants.
  12. Air layering – A propagation method where you partially cut a branch or tree and wrap it with moist medium to stimulate and form new roots. This method is usually practiced in bonsai cultivation.
  13. Alkaline soil – Any type of soil that has a pH of 8.5 and above. Vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower, and celery flourish in alkaline soil.
  14. Annual – Plants that go through their entire life cycle in one year.
  15. Aquatic plants – Plants that grow in water such as water lilies, lotus, and floating heart.
  16. Arbor – A garden structure with latticework intended to support climbing plants and vines. It is often shaped like a tunnel.
  17. Arboretum – A dedicated land planted with trees or shrubs used for study or display.
  18. Asexual propagation – The process of using the body tissue of a parent plant to generate a new plant that is identical to one parent
  19. Atrium – An open area in the middle of a house or building, which is typically open-roofed or glass roofed.
  20. Auxin – Any type of hormone or substance responsible for the development and growth of plants. Auxin is also responsible for cell elongation in plant shoots.
  21. Bare root – A type of arboriculture technique where plants are cleared of soil for transplanting.
  22. Bedding plant – A plant that is grown in flower beds and laid in the ground when it’s blooming or near-blooming. Bedding is usually done to create a seasonal display of colorful flowers.
  23. Biennial – Plants that require two years to complete its lifecycle.
  24. Bipinnate – Plants with pinnate leaflets that grow opposite of each other.
  25. Bolting – An occurrence when a plant stops its growth stage and turns to seed production. Bolting can be seen in a variety of crops such as lettuce, cilantro, and coriander among others.
  26. Bonsai – A Japanese art of growing dwarfed and miniaturized trees and shrubs.
  27. Bract – Brightly colored leaves usually found below the area of a flower and are used to protect the embryo of the flower and to attract pollinating insects.
  28. Bud – A part of a plant that grows into a flower or leaf.
  29. Bud eye – A bud that has started to swell and can grow into a new stem.
  30. Bud union – Found near the base of the plant, a bud union is the area of a grafted plant where the scion and rootstock meet.
  31. Bulb – Plants with fleshy and scaly storage structures designed to store nutrients.
  32. Cambium – The formative tissue layer of a plant that is responsible for secondary growth.
  33. Cane – The long and woody hollow stem of plants like bamboo.
  34. Catkin – A species of inflorescence or a group of flowers that are cylindrical and hanging low such as willows and birch.
  35. Chitting – The method of starting the seed germination before planting. Chitting commonly refers to potatoes. By providing the seed with water and light, chitting enables the first roots to come out of the seed before planting it in soil.
  36. Chlorophyll – A group of green pigments responsible for converting carbon dioxide and water into food. It is also the group that absorbs light from the sun for photosynthesis.
  37. Cladode – A flattened organ that resembles and functions like a leaf.
  38. Cloche – A piece of transparent protective material usually made of glass that functions as a cover for plants.
  39. Cold Frame – An outdoor structure that has a transparent roof used for protecting plants from extreme cold and moisture.
  40. Complete Fertilizer – A type of fertilizer that contains the three principal elements for plant nutrition: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
  41. Conifer – Any of the various evergreen trees that bear cone-like or needle-shaped leaves like pine and fir trees.
  42. Cordon – A plant that is grown as one stem that is done by removing side roots.
  43. Corm – A food-storing underground organ found in plants such as cyclamens, gladioli, and crocuses.
  44. Cover crop – A type of plant planted primarily to help manage soil erosion, prevent weed growth, and improve soil fertility.
  45. Crown – A part of a plant where the stems meet the roots.
  46. Cultivate – The act of preparing the soil by fertilizing or plowing for raising and planting crops.
  47. Damping off – A disease of seedlings that generally occur in excessively damp conditions. Fungi attacks the seedlings as they begin to grow.
  48. Dead-head – The term used for the removal of spent flowers from plants to promote more flowers to blossom.
  49. Deciduous – A term used for trees and shrubs that shed at a particular stage during its life cycle.
  50. Dethatcher – A lawn device primarily used to remove dead grass from a garden or yard.
  51. Dibble Stick – A small hand tool used for digging holes in the soil for planting bulbs.
  52. Direct Sow – The method of planting seeds directly into the ground rather than planting them indoors and transplanting them later.
  53. Dividing – A propagation technique where you dig up the parent plant and divide it into many plants.
  54. Dormancy – A time when your plant stops growing or unable to germinate for a specified period.
  55. Double Digging – A gardening method that involves deep digging to increase soil aeration and drainage, enabling plants to get more nutrients.
  56. Double Flower – A variety of flowers that have extra petals, often containing flowers within flowers.
  57. Drip irrigation – A watering system that offers controlled water supply directly to the plant root zone through a network of pipes.
  58. Drip Line – Located under the outer part of the tree where tiny water roots are found. These roots take up water to the tree. The drip line is often used as a reference point for watering plants.
  59. Earth up – A gardening technique of covering the stem of the plant with soil to protect it from the wind, frost, and light.
  60. Epiphyte – A plant that gets its nutrients and moisture from the air while growing harmlessly on another plant.
  61. Ericaceous – Plants that don’t thrive in soil containing lime.
  62. Erosion – The occurrence where the land is damaged due to natural forces such as water or the wind.
  63. Espalier – Plants or shrubs that are trained to grow flat against a wall.
  64. Evaporation – Water loss from the soil as water turns from liquid to gas.
  65. Everbearing – A tree or shrub that continuously produces fruits throughout an entire growing season such as strawberries.
  66. Evergreen – A plant, tree, or shrub that has green leaves throughout the year. Evergreens such as pinyon pine, white spruce, and frasier fir are usually used for decoration.
  67. F1 Hybrid – The crossbreeding of parent plants to produce offsprings with specific and enhanced characteristics.
  68. Fertilizer – Any natural or chemical materials containing phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium to make a soil fertile. Fertilizers improve the quality of soil for planting.
  69. Fescue – Any variety of grasses characterized by broad flat leaves. Fescues are extremely disease and insect-resistant and can withstand harsh weather.
  70. Floating row cover – Lightweight, non-woven fabric made from polypropylene that can be placed directly over the plants without any frames or support.
  71. Floricane – A fruit-bearing plant that grows for a year before yielding fruits and flowers.
  72. Foliar feeding – A gardening method where water-dissolved fertilizers are directly applied to leaves rather than in soil.
  73. Forcing – A method where plants are stimulated to grow than its standard time.
  74. Frond – The leafy part of a palm or fern that has many divisions.
  75. Frost – Occurs when the soil surface around the plant is below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, which can be damaging or kill tender plants.
  76. Fungicide – A spray or dust made of biochemical compounds used to kill fungi in plants.
  77. Garden flat – A plot of ground located near the house used for cultivating plants, flowers, herbs.
  78. Germination – The beginning of plant growth of seeds.
  79. Girdling – The wrapping or tying off a rope or wire around the branch of a tree to disrupt growth or sometimes, kill the plant.
  80. Grading – Sculpting of soil to bring it to the desired level of slope.
  81. Grafting – The joining of two plants into one that allows asexual reproduction of plants.
  82. Ground cover – Any variety of low-growing plants used to cover the ground.
  83. Growing season – A period of a year where the weather is most favorable to grow plants or crops.
  84. Harden off – The acclimating or the adapting of plants that have been grown indoor to outdoor.
  85. Hardiness – The plant’s ability to endure harsh weather such as heat, cold, or drought.
  86. Hardpan – A layer of hard clay-rich soil found below the ground surface.
  87. Hardy perennial – A type of plant that can survive in an open ground unprotected and can withstand freezing temperatures.
  88. Heading back – The cutting of an older stem or branch.
  89. Hedge – A row of closely spaced shrubs or small trees planted close together to form a boundary.
  90. Heeling in – Storing a plant temporarily with moist soil until they can be planted properly.
  91. Herbaceous – Plants that have green stems and have little or no woody tissues.
  92. Herbicide – A chemical used to kill unwanted plants or weeds.
  93. Honeydew – A saccharine material left on leaves that are secreted by scale insects or aphids.
  94. Humus – A black or brown matter that is composed of decayed vegetables or animal matter.
  95. Hybrid – A result of cross-pollinated plants.
  96. Hydroponics – The method of growing plants without soil but in nutrient solutions such as in water, sands, or gravel.
  97. Inflorescence – A cluster of flowers arranged or growing on one stem.
  98. Inorganic Fertilizer – Fertilizers that is chemically processed containing some natural compounds.
  99. Iron – A form of nutrient needed by the plant to support its vital functions such as chlorophyll production.
  100. Irrigation – A structure designed to supply water to plants and crops through artificial means such as pipes or sprinklers.
  101. Landscape Maintenance – Any activities that keep a landscape healthy, clean, and beautiful.
  102. Lath – A structure that’s evenly spaced and made of wood intended to give shade or light to plants.
  103. Layering – A propagation technique used to make a new plant before severing it from its parent roots.
  104. Leaching – A natural process where nutrients and chemicals from soil are washed off by excess water from rainwater.
  105. Leaf mold – A layer or compost made of organic material such as decomposed leaves. Leaf mold can also mean a fungal disease that affects foliage.
  106. Liming – The process of adding lime to the soil to reduce its acidity level.
  107. Loam – A fertile soil that contains a mixture of clay, decaying organic materials, and sand.
  108. Macronutrients – Essential nutrients required by plants to develop and grow such as potassium, nitrogen, sulfur, and oxygen among others.
  109. Maiden tree – A tree that is in its first year
  110. Manure – Organic matter mostly derived from the waste of animals. Manure is used to fertilize the soil for planting.
  111. Microclimate – The climate of a small, specific area or garden. Depending on the area, gardens have variances in light, air, and water.
  112. Micronutrients – Nutrients required by plants in small amounts for growth such as boron, zinc, and manganese among others.
  113. Monoecious plant – Species of plants that bear both the male and female organs.
  114. Mulch – Layer of material used to cover plants to conserve moisture. Mulch is an organic matter made from bark, decaying leaves, and peat among others.
  115. Native plant – Plants that are indigenous to a particular area or place with or without direct human intervention.
  116. Naturalize – The introduction of any varieties of plants or trees to a foreign environment as opposed to native plants.
  117. Node – The part of the plant where the stem, branch or aerial root grows.
  118. Organic fertilizer – An organic substance made from vegetable and animal matter, sometimes human matter, used to fertilize the soil.
  119. Organic gardening – Gardening that does not use fertilizers and pesticides but relying on natural products and cultural practices.
  120. Organic material – A carbon-based compound found in natural environments such as bacteria, fungi, and dead animals among others.
  121. Osmosis – The movement of water through a cellular membrane and a means for plants to manage their moisture content.
  122. Palmate – Leaves that are divided into lobes whose stems grow from a single central point. Palmate appears like a human hand. Palm trees have serrated leaves.
  123. Panicle – A variety of inflorescence plants with flowers that cluster on one branch or stem-like lilac.
  124. Parasitic Plant – Plants that live on another for its nutritional requirements.
  125. Peat moss – Any of various mosses that typically grows on wetland in dense masses.
  126. Perennial – Plants that live for more than two years, unlike annual and biennial plants.
  127. Perlite – A Non-organic additive that is the key ingredient in fine potting soils.
  128. Pest – Small animals or insects that destroy or harm plants, trees, or crops.
  129. Pesticide – Chemical used to kill insects or animals that damage plants or crops.
  130. pH level – Measure of soil’s acidity or alkalinity.
  131. Photosynthesis – The process used by plants to convert light energy into food.
  132. Pinching back – The removal of new growth from plants to either make it bushier or to postpone blooming time.
  133. Pinnate – Leaves that resemble a feather by having similar leaflets arranged on opposite sides.
  134. Pistil – The seed-bearing organ of a female flower.
  135. Planter – Containers or boxes used to grow plants.
  136. Pollination – Occurs when pollen is transferred to the female reproductive organ of a plant, enabling fertilization to take place.
  137. Pot Gardening – Gardening practice of growing plants or flowers exclusively in containers rather than in soil.
  138. Pot up – Containers used for indoor or outdoor planting that is usually made of metal, pottery, or glass.
  139. Potting soil – Growing plants using specially prepared soil with a mixture of peat, loam, and nutrients. Potting is done in pots.
  140. Prick out – Gardening technique where seeds are moved from trays or pots into individual containers.
  141. Primocane variety – The first year’s stems of fruit-bearing plants such as raspberries and blackberries.
  142. Propagation – The process of creating new plants from cuttings, seeds, and bulbs among others.
  143. Pruning – The selective cutting of parts of plants such as branches, stems, or buds.
  144. Quarantine – Method of strict isolation to ensure suspected disease-carrying plants do not infect other plants.
  145. Quarantine laws – Laws and regulations implemented by the government to regulate or restrict the import of non-indigenous plants.
  146. Raceme – A cluster of flower arranged on a single central axis.
  147. Refoliation – Leaves regrowth following defoliation.
  148. Relative humidity – The measurement or the amount of moisture in the air.
  149. Rhizome – Underground stems or plants that grow horizontally and produces roots that shoot up from its nodes.
  150. Root ball – Roots and soil that cling to a plant when it is dug up.
  151. Rootbound – A plant that has outgrown or grew too large for its container that often results in tangling of the roots.
  152. Rooting hormone – Compounds used in plants to stimulate root formation and growth.
  153. Rootstock – The underground part of a plant that develops into a root system and used for budding or grafting.
  154. Rosette – Cluster of flowers that grow from a single crown.
  155. Runner – A horizontal and slender stem where an offset develops.
  156. Scarification – Cutting or splitting the seed’s outer layer to stimulate germination.
  157. Scion – Plant shoots that is grafted onto another plant.
  158. Self-fertile – Plants that do not rely on a second individual to fertilize and produce fruits due to its self-pollination capability.
  159. Semi-evergreen – Refers to plants that temporarily lose its foliage for a short period especially in harsh climate.
  160. Single flower – Any variety of flowers with only one set of petals like the wild rose.
  161. Sod – Grass-covered surface soil held by roots.
  162. Sod cutter – A tool used to cutting or trimming sods.
  163. Specimen plant – A plant grown for ornamental or display purposes.
  164. Sphagnum – Any variety of ashy mosses whose decomposed remains form a peat.
  165. Spore – Reproductive cell organ produced by ferns and fungi.
  166. Staking – The practice of driving a rod or stick into the ground for plant support.
  167. Standard – The gardening technique where trees are trained only to grow one stem from the ground.
  168. Stolon – Any variety of low spreading plant found just below the ground surface. Its tips produce new plants. Strawberries and hen and chicks are examples of stolon.
  169. Stratification – An artificial process of chilling the seeds to stimulate germination. This usually requires placing seeds in moistened container and kept in a refrigerator.
  170. Sucker – A shoot that comes from the lower part of the stem of a plant and grafted trees.
  171. Systemic – A chemical pesticide that kills insects or fungi. The chemical is absorbed into the plant’s system.
  172. Taproot – The thick main root of a plant that grows vertically downward.
  173. Temperature tolerance – The degree at which any types of plant can handle and survive temperature.
  174. Tender plants – Types of plants that are not able to withstand the cold.
  175. Tendril – A long stem that is thin and used by climbing plants to attach themselves to objects or structures they climb.
  176. Thatch – Dead stems that formed as a layer of the soil. It keeps the soil moisture by reducing evaporation.
  177. Thinning – Agricultural process of removing some plants to give more room for other plants to grow.
  178. Top-dress – A type of fertilizer application to soil done by covering the ground’s surface.
  179. Topiary – A type of ornamental gardening where bushes or plants are trimmed, weaved or shaped into various shapes and styles such as animals.
  180. Topsoil – The very top layer of soil, usually 2 to 8 inches soil. Topsoil is very rich in nutrients.
  181. Transpiration – The act of plants absorbing water through their roots.
  182. Transplant shock – Stresses that affect plants when they are being transplanted as they are adjusting to new locations.
  183. Transplanting – The technique of transferring a plant from one place to another or to uproot and replant.
  184. Tuber – The thickened, fleshy part of a stem.
  185. Turf – The surface layer of land covered with grasses and other plants.
  186. Umbel – The characteristic of umbelliferous plants where flowers radiate from a common point.
  187. Variegation – The appearance of spots of different colors in the leaves of a plant.
  188. Water garden – The cultivation of plants in water.
  189. Weed – Any wild plants that grow in a garden or any unwanted places. Weeds tend to choke out plants and outgrow them.
  190. Wet Feet – An occurrence where plants have been watered too much for them to manage. Sometimes, this results in plants dying.
  191. Wettable powder – A form of insecticide added to water to create an insecticide.
  192. Wetting agent – A substance that can be applied to the surface of the soil to lower its surface tension. Thus, enabling it to penetrate the ground more efficiently.
  193. Wildflower – Flowers that grow and thrive anywhere even without human intervention.
  194. Wilt – The state where plants become flaccid or droop due to heat.
  195. Windbreak – Trees or shrubs planted in such a manner that it protects plants from the wind and prevents soil from erosion.
  196. Window box – A long and narrow box placed on an outside windowsill used to grow plants and flowers.
  197. Woody plant – Any variety of plants that have hard-lignified tissues or woody parts such as lianas, trees, and shrubs.
  198. Xerophyte – Plants that can survive with little water supply like a cactus.
  199. Xylem – Transport tissue in plants. Its primary function is to convey water and food from the roots to the stem.
  200. Zone – Regions with the same climatic and rainfall conditions.

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