Useful Definitions


The process of improving the movement of air, water and nutrients into or within the soil, usually by removing soil plugs or cores. Also performed to relieve compaction of soils.

Annual plant:

Any plant which germinates, matures, produces seed and dies within one growing season.


A coarse-textured, low-maintenance warm-season grass which is primarily regarded as a clump grass but also spreads by rhizomes.

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A cool-season grass of fine-to-medium texture with stoloniferous growth. Used primarily on golf course greens, tees and fairways.


 A warm-season grass of fine-to-medium texture with vigorous growth from rhizomes and stolons. Commonly used in the southern U.S. and where climates are hot and dry; popular in these areas due to its durability and low water needs. Bermudagrass is also deemed an unpopular and undesirable grass, commonly referred to as a weed, in the cooler climates where cool-season grasses are often preferred. This grass is a voracious grower and can invade and quickly overtake cool-season lawns. If bermudagrass is not desired in your lawn, early and vigilant weed control must be performed. There are a few weed control products available specifically designed to manage bermudagrass. However, often times, a lawn owner must use a non-selective herbicide that contains glyphosate to kill off the bermudagrass. CAUTION: Glyphosate products will kill everything it touches, may require multiple applications, and you will have to re-plant the area with seed or sod.


A popular cool-season grass of fine-to-medium texture with vegetative growth by rhizomes and tillers. Quite often grown for sod production. A popular component in most grass seed mixtures.

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Broadcast seeding: 

The process of scattering seed over the soil surface or onto an existing turf surface, using a rotary or gravity feed-type spreader.

Clump growth: 

Plant development by tillering at or near the soil surface without production of rhizomes or stolons.


A warm-season, medium-to-coarse texture stoloniferous grass which grows best on acid soils.


A condition that occurs primarily in the upper 1 to 1 1/2 inches of soil. Compacted soils have reduced air spaces and more resistance to root growth than non-compacted soils. Compacted soils are dense and cause water to puddle and run off.

Cool-season turfgrass: 

A turfgrass adapted to rapid growth during cool, moist periods of the year. Plants can be injured, or will enter dormancy during prolonged periods of hot weather.

Core Aeration: 

The mechanical removal of small cores of soil and thatch from the lawn.

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Creeping growth: 

Plant development by stem growth at or near the soil surface, by the spreading of rhizomes and/or stolons.


The procedure of removing an excessive thatch accumulation mechanically by practices such as verti-cutting. Core aeration helps to naturally keep down thatch accumulation.


The process of removing the thatch layer from turf. This process is usually done mechanically with a dethatching machine or power rake.

Dethatcher/Power Rake: 

Turf equipment that mechanically removes thatch with rigid wire tines or steel blades, which slice through the turf and lift the thatch debris to the surface for removal.

Dormant seeding: 

Planting seed during late fall or early winter after temperatures become too cold for seed germination. Seed germinates the following spring when the soil warms.

Dormant turf: 

Areas which have temporarily ceased growth as a result of extended drought, heat or cold stress, but are capable of resuming growth when environmental conditions are favorable.

Fine fescue: 

Fine-textured, cool-season grasses reproducing by tillers or rhizomes. Generally does well in shaded and low-fertility conditions. Includes creeping red fescue, chewings fescue and hard fescue. You will often see these types of fescues in a shade grass seed mixture.

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The beginning of visible growth of a plant as it emerges from the seed.


A process in which a slurry consisting of water, grass seed, mulch and/or fertilizer is pumped through a nozzle and sprayed onto a soil bed.


The process of seeding new, improved grasses into worn-out or damaged turf. Used for rejuvenating existing turf with minimal disturbance to the soil or grass.


Any chemical agent used to control pests. This would include fungicides, herbicides, insecticides, etc.

Perennial plant:

Any plant which germinates, matures, produces seed that lives for more than two growing seasons.

Preemergent herbicide: 

An herbicide which prevents/inhibits seedling emergence or growth of a plant.

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Turf improvement involving replanting grass seed or sod into existing live and/or dead vegetation.


An underground stem which is capable of producing a new plant similar in all respects to the parent plant.

Root system: 

The underground, downward growth of a plant; anchors plants into the soil and absorbs moisture and nutrients from the soil for use by the entire plant.

Root zone: 

The area of the soil where roots develop, grow and mature.


Annual ryegrass is used primarily as a fill-in grass, often used to overseed warm-season grasses that brown and go dormant during the winter such as bermudagrass. It is fast-growing, coarse-textured and lives for only one growing season. Perennial ryegrass is a fine-to-medium textured, cool-season grass generally known for its fast rate of establishment and excellent traffic tolerance. This grass is planted as a permanent lawn.

Spot seeding: 

The seeding of small, usually bare or sparsely-covered areas within an established turf.

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Spray drift: 

The movement of airborne spray particles from a spray nozzle outside the intended contact area. Spray drift is of particular concern when using spray pesticides.


A stem growing along the soil surface which is capable of taking root and starting a new plant at each node.


A condition under which a plant suffers due to a lack of moisture, food, extreme heat, extreme cold or a combination of external factors.


The layer of dead and decaying plant tissue located between the soil surface and the grass blades. A thin layer of thatch is common and oftentimes okay since it helps your lawn retain moisture longer and acts as a natural weed barrier to inhibit weed seed germination. However, a thatch layer of 1/2 inch or more prevents air, light and water from reaching the turf’s root zone. Thatch also makes an excellent breeding ground for harmful insects and disease organisms.


A sprout or stalk that forms its own leaves and originates at the base of the parent plant.


A prepared soil mix added to the surface of the turf and worked in by brooming, matting, raking and/or irrigation for the purpose of controlling thatch-forming materials, enhancing thatch decomposition and covering seed after planting.

Vertical mower: 

Also referred to as a Power Rake. A mechanical device having vertically rotating blades that cut perpendicularly into the turf for the purpose of controlling thatch.

Warm-season turfgrass: 

A turf species that is widely distributed throughout the warm-humid or warm semi-arid climates of the south; usually dormant during cool, wintertime temperatures.