Lawn Care Industry Terms

Acid
A condition which is derived by partial exchange of replaceable hydrogen; an element that is sour; on the pH scale, acid conditions are any pH below 7.0 which is neutral.
Jump to Top Jump to Top
Alkaline
The condition of water or soil that contains an amount of alkali substances (various soluble salts) to raise the pH above 7.0.
Jump to Top Jump to Top
Annuals
Plants or flowers that grow and die in the same season. Most of the annuals in the plant database are flowering plants recommended to add color and variety to planting beds. Most annuals require full sun or partial shade and many need supplemental irrigation.
Jump to Top Jump to Top
Aquascape
The planting of aquatic and wetland plants for the enhancement, restoration, or creation of freshwater, estuarine, or marine systems.
Jump to Top Jump to Top
Aquifer
A layer of underground rock or sand that stores and transports water for consumption. Water in the aquifer is also the source of all water that flows from Florida’s springs. Fertilizers and pesticides spread on the ground can soak into the aquifer and pollute drinking water as well as water in Florida’s springs.
Jump to Top Jump to Top
Bedding plants
Herbaceous annual or perennial plants that are sold for use in flower or vegetable gardens.
Jump to Top Jump to Top
Berm
A raised earthen area.
Jump to Top Jump to Top
Best Management Practices (BMPs)
Methods that have been determined to be the most effective, practical means of preventing or reducing pollution from nonpoint sources.
Jump to Top Jump to Top
Brackish water
Water that is mostly fresh, with some salt. The far ends of tidal creeks and rivers are mostly brackish, supporting sometimes fresh and saltwater marine life and plants.
Jump to Top Jump to Top
Bud
An undeveloped or compressed stem.
Jump to Top Jump to Top
Certified arborist
An arborist who has passed an exam and receives, on a regular basis, continuing education administered by the International Society of Arboriculture or another certifying agency.
Jump to Top Jump to Top
Chelate
A complex organic molecule that surrounds certain trace elements, such as iron, and keeps them dissolved in a solution and makes them available for absorption by plants.
Jump to Top Jump to Top
Composting
The process of converting plant and animal waste into useful soil additives.
Jump to Top Jump to Top
Cooperative Extension Service
A cooperative program between the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and county governments to offer information and educational programs on landscaping, gardening, sustainable agriculture, family and consumer sciences and more. The County Extension offices are the primary information resources on Florida-friendly gardening and landscaping for Florida residents.
Jump to Top Jump to Top
Cultivar (cvs)
A cultivated variety of a plant selected for some feature that distinguishes it from the species from which it was selected.
Jump to Top Jump to Top
Deciduous
A plant that sheds all of its leaves at one time each year.
Jump to Top Jump to Top
Disease
An interaction between an organism and its environment that results in an abnormal condition; can be biotic or abiotic.
Jump to Top Jump to Top
Drought tolerant
Used to describe plants that require less water because they’re adapted to regions with frequent drought or to soils with low water-holding capacity.
Jump to Top Jump to Top
Drip line
The circle that forms at the ends of the branches of a tree, where water drips off the leaves onto the ground.
Jump to Top Jump to Top
Establishment
Acclimating a new plant to the environmental conditions of the planting site.
Jump to Top Jump to Top
Evergreen
A plant that retains at least some of its leaves year-round.
Jump to Top Jump to Top
Florida Yards and Neighborhoods Program (FYN)
Part of the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences at the University of Florida, FYN develops educational programs to help residents reduce pollution, conserve water and enhance wildlife habitats through proper management of their yards and landscapes.
Jump to Top Jump to Top
Florida-friendly Landscaping
Describes landscaping practices that help to preserve Florida’s natural resources and protect the environment.
Jump to Top Jump to Top
Fungicide
A chemical that kills or inhibits the growth of fungi on plants and grass.
Jump to Top Jump to Top
Girdle
To constrict or destroy the bark in a ring around the trunk or branch of a plant, cutting off flow of nutrients and water through the bark; ultimately the plant dies.
Jump to Top Jump to Top
Genus (plural, genera)
A group of similar organisms representing a category within a family. A genus consists of one or more species. Genus is the plant equivalent of our surnames or family names. When followed by the name of the ‘species’ you have it’s botanical name. For example, Ilex (holly) is the genus in the botanical name Ilex cassine (Dahoon Holly).
Jump to Top Jump to Top
Groundcovers
Low-growing plants used for erosion control, to replace grass or simply for aesthetic reasons.
Jump to Top Jump to Top
Groundwater
Water stored underground in an aquifer. Groundwater is used for drinking and also supports Florida’s springs. Fertilizers and pesticides placed on the ground are sources of pollutants in Florida’s groundwater.
Jump to Top Jump to Top
Hardiness Zone
The hardiness zone is a geographically defined zone in which a specific plant life is capable of growing, as defined by temperature hardiness, or ability to withstand the minimum temperatures of the zone. The hardiness zones in Florida range from 8 to 11 with 8a being in the northwestern Panhandle region and 11 in the Florida Keys. Consult with your local nursery if you are uncertain about a plant’s hardiness zone and your location.
Jump to Top Jump to Top
Hardscape
Areas such as patios, decks, driveways, paths and sidewalks that do not require irrigation.
Jump to Top Jump to Top
Herbicide
A chemical that kills plants or inhibits their growth; typically intended for weed control.
Jump to Top Jump to Top
IFAS
The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences at the University of Florida.
Jump to Top Jump to Top
Impervious
Roads, parking lots, and driveway surfaces that rain and irrigation water cannot penetrate.
Jump to Top Jump to Top
Insecticide
A pesticide that kills insects and other arthropods.
Jump to Top Jump to Top
Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
A sustainable approach to managing pests by combining biological, cultural, physical and chemical tools in a way that minimizes economic, health and environmental risks.
Jump to Top Jump to Top
Inorganic
Describing a substance not derived from a living organism and/or not composed of carbon and hydrogen (a hydrocarbon). A chemical or fertilizer that is not obtained from a source that is or has been alive is inorganic.
Jump to Top Jump to Top
Invasive plant
A plant that moves in and takes over an ecosystem to the detriment of other species. These plants are often introduced intentionally or accidentally by human activity. Air potato, Brazilian pepper, melaleuca tree, Australian pine are just a few examples of invasive plants in Florida that cost the state and property owners tens of millions of dollars each year to remove and manage. To learn more about the categorization of non-native plants in Florida, see the IFAS Assessment of the Status of Non-Native Plants in Florida’s Natural Areas.
Jump to Top Jump to Top
IPM
(See ‘Integrated Pest Management’)
Jump to Top Jump to Top
Irrigation Zone
A grouping of sprinkler heads or micro-irrigation emitters operated simultaneously by the control of one valve.
Jump to Top Jump to Top
Leaching
The downward movement of water and any particles dissolved in it, such as nutrients or pollutants through soil.
Jump to Top Jump to Top
Loam
A mixture of sand, silt, clay and organic material from decomposed leaf litter and other plant material.
Jump to Top Jump to Top
Littoral zone
The area between high and low tide in coastal waters, or the shoreline of a freshwater lake.
Jump to Top Jump to Top
Mature tree
A tree that has reached at least 75 percent of its final height and spread.
Jump to Top Jump to Top
Micro-irrigation
Irrigation using drip hoses or sprayers that apply water directly the root zones of plants.
Jump to Top Jump to Top
Moisture Sensing Device (Soil Moisture Sensor)
A device to indicate soil moisture in the root zone for the purpose of controlling an irrigation system based on the actual needs of the plant.
Jump to Top Jump to Top
Mulch
Natural or manmade material placed on the soil surface to conserve soil moisture, influence soil temperature and control weeds.
Jump to Top Jump to Top
Native plants
Plants that were present at the time of first European contact in Florida (about 1500 A.D.); a plant that occurs naturally in a particular region, state, ecosystem and habitat without direct or indirect human actions.
Jump to Top Jump to Top
Nitrogen
An element occurring in natural and chemical fertilizer that is essential to the growth and development of plants, but which, in excess, can cause water to become polluted and threaten aquatic animals.
Jump to Top Jump to Top
Nitrates
A nitrogen-containing compound or pollutant that enters aquifer, springs and surface bodies of water. Excess nitrates in the environment come from fertilizers, poorly designed or malfunctioning septic systems and sewage treatment plants. Excess nitrates lead to algae growth and can damage natural ecosystems.
Jump to Top Jump to Top
Nonpoint source (NPS) pollution
Nonpoint source pollution cannot be pinpointed to a single source. Over time, pollutants from our everyday activities accumulate on the land; examples of NPS pollutants include gasoline, fertilizer, pesticides and even soil. NPS pollution is a problem when rainfall or heavy irrigation carries sediments and dissolved chemicals to waterways in stormwater runoff and by leaching or percolating through soil.
Jump to Top Jump to Top
Nutrients
Chemicals that are needed by plants and animals for growth (eg, nitrogen, phosphorus). In water resources, excessive amounts of nutrients can lead to degradation of water quality by promoting excessive growth, accumulation, and subsequent decay of plants, especially algae. Source: NC State University
Jump to Top Jump to Top
Organic
Being composed of, or containing matter of plant or animal origin. All living matter is considered organic. In gardening, the term organic typically refers to plants grown without use of chemical fertilizers or pesticides.
Jump to Top Jump to Top
Perennial
Perennials are plants that last for more than two growing seasons.
Jump to Top Jump to Top
Pesticide
A chemical or other substance used to prevent, destroy, repel or mitigate pests.
Jump to Top Jump to Top
Pesticide Resistance
After repeated applications of a certain pesticide, some pests may adapt to the chemical and are not harmed by it. Those individuals that survive then breed and pass the resistance genes to their offspring.
Jump to Top Jump to Top
Phosphates
A group of compounds containing phosphorous and oxygen, which are used to enhance the effectiveness of detergents. Also a component of fertilizers, phosphates are essential plant nutrients. Phosphate residues from detergents and fertilizers can cause excessive growth of algae in lakes and streams. Source: GeorgiaStrait.org
Jump to Top Jump to Top
Photosynthesis
The process that turns light energy into chemical energy in green plants.
Jump to Top Jump to Top
Point source pollution
Water pollution that results from water discharges into lakes, streams, rivers, or bays from easily identifiable points. Common point sources of pollution are discharges from sewage or wastewater treatment plants and factories.
Jump to Top Jump to Top
Rain barrel
A barrel used to collect rainwater that flows off of rooftops.
Jump to Top Jump to Top
Rain garden
A low area of the landscape with plants well-adapted to high soil moisture and used to manage stormwater runoff from impervious surfaces such as roofs, sidewalks, and parking lots. Rain garden plants also need to be adapted to dry soil conditions since the area may be dry for extended periods as well.
Jump to Top Jump to Top
Resistance
After repeated applications of a certain pesticide, some pests may adapt to the chemical and are not harmed by it. Those individuals that survive then breed and pass the resistance genes to their offspring.
Jump to Top Jump to Top
Runoff
Water from precipitation or irrigation that flows over the ground and into lakes, streams, rivers and other bodies of water. Runoff often carries with it pollutants (fertilizers, oils, and chemicals) from the land surface and may also cause soil erosion.
Jump to Top Jump to Top
Sinkhole
A hole in the ground caused by erosion of underground limestone. Polluted stormwater runoff carrying fertilizers and pesticides can be carried into sinkholes and conveyed directly to the aquifer, the source of drinking water and water in springs.
Jump to Top Jump to Top
Slow-release fertilizer
A fertilizer that releases its nutrients gradually, over a time period.
Jump to Top Jump to Top
Soil pH
The degree of acidity or alkalinity of soil. The pH (acidity/alkalinity) of a property’s soils will determine what plants are best suited for your yard. Soil pH affects the ability of the soil to release the nutrients to plants. If the pH level is too high or two low, nutrients can get “locked up” in the soil chemistry and become unavailable to plants. Soil pH is measured with the numbers 1 to 10. A pH below 7 is acidic. A pH above 7 is alkaline. Most plants thrive in a pH of 6 to 6.8. In general, sandy coastal areas are usually slightly alkaline or alkaline (high pH).
Jump to Top Jump to Top
Soil texture
The relative proportions of sand, silt, and clay in a soil; clay is the smallest particle size, and clay tends to hold water and nutrients well and drain poorly; conversely, soils containing a large proportion of sand, the largest particle size, tend to drain well and do not hold water and nutrients well.
Jump to Top Jump to Top
Species
A group of plants, animals or other organisms that resemble each other and interbreed freely.
Jump to Top Jump to Top
spp. (see ‘Species’)
Abbreviation for more than one species.
Jump to Top Jump to Top
Springshed
The total land area that contributes rainfall and runoff to a spring or series of connected springs via the aquifer. Runoff and leaching of fertilizers and pesticides within a springshed can harm fragile springs ecosystems, even if the springs are located many miles from the point of application.
Jump to Top Jump to Top
Spot-treatment
Application of a pesticide to the problem plant or area, rather than a blanket application or “wall-to-wall” coverage.
Jump to Top Jump to Top
Stormwater runoff
Water that runs off impervious or water-saturated surfaces, transporting sediments and pollutants like fertilizers, oils and chemicals into nearby waters.
Jump to Top Jump to Top
Swale
A man-made depression in the front of a property designed to contain or move stormwater to natural drainage areas. Swales help prevent stormwater runoff into streets and local streams and lakes.
Jump to Top Jump to Top
Thatch
A layer of dead and living plant matter that accumulates between soil and turf, often blocking water and nutrient movement into soil.
Jump to Top Jump to Top
Watershed
The total land area that contributes stormwater and irrigation runoff to a body of water like a spring, lake, river or bay.
Jump to Top Jump to Top
Weed
A plant out of place; weeds are troublesome because they compete with desirable plants for water, minerals and light; sometimes weeds can host insect pests or diseases.
Jump to Top Jump to Top
Wilting
The drooping of plant parts, especially leaves, generally because of a lack of water.
Jump to Top Jump to Top