Useful Definition

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

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

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

Bermudagrass: A popular warm-season grass of fine-to-medium texture with vigorous growth from rhizomes and stolons. Quite often planted for sod production.

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. Generally acceptable for seeding new areas, but not recommended for overseeding purposes.

Bunch-type growth: Plant development by tillering at or near the soil surface without production of rhizomes or stolons.

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

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.

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

Dethatch: The procedure of removing an excessive thatch accumulation mechanically by practices such as vertical mowing or core aerification.

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.

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

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

Overseeding: 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.

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

Preemergent herbicide: A herbicide which prevents seedling emergence or growth of a plant.

Renovation: Turf improvement involving replanting into existing live and/or dead vegetation.

Rhizome: 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.

Ryegrass: Annual ryegrass is used primarily as a nurse grass. It is coarse-textured and persists 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.

Slit-seeder: A mechanical seeder capable of cutting grooves into the soil, followed by the placement of seed into the grooves, assuring good seed-to-soil contact. Recommended for overseeding into existing turf.

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

Spray drift: The movement of airborne spray particles from a spray nozzle outside the intended contact area.

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

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

Thatch: A loose, intermingled layer of dead and living shoots, stems and roots that develops between the zone of green vegetation and the soil surface.

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

Topdressing: 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.


COMPACTION: 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 noncompacted soils. Compacted soils are dense and cause water to puddle and run off.

CORE AERATION: The mechanical removal of small plugs of soil and thatch from the lawn.

DETHATCHING: The process of removing the thatch layer from turf, the layer of dead and decaying plant tissue located between the soil surface and the green vegetation. This process is usually done mechanically with a dethatching unit or power rake.

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.

THATCH: The layer of dead and decaying plant tissue located between the soil surface and the green vegetation. A thin layer of thatch is beneficial because it reduces soil compaction and it increases wear tolerance. 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.

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