top of page

Landscaping Glossary

Here are some commonly used terms in landscaping, some might be more familiar than others!

Accent: The use of a plant or object to draw attention to a space.

Acidic soil:

Soil with a pH value of less than 7.0.

Aeration: A method of increasing water and oxygen into compact soil by turning and loosening the soil to allow penetration.

Alkaline soil:

Soil with a pH value of more than 7.0.


A plant that completes its life cycle in one year or season.


The tip of a stem.

Arbor: A shady garden shelter or bower, often made of rustic wood or latticework on which vines, roses, etc. are grown.


A landscaped space where trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants are cultivated for scientific study, educational purposes, and to foster appreciation of plants. Axil:

The area between a leaf and the stem from which the leaf arises. Bacillus Thuringiensis(BT): Biological Control Beneficial Biological Controls: Insects and organic chemicals Biennial: A plant that typically takes two years to complete it's life cycle. Budding: A form of asexual reproduction in which a new organism develops from an outgrowth or bud on another one.

Bulb: An underground plant structure that contains nutrients, energy and seed to produce a plant.

Cambrium Layer: The thin layer of growing cells between the xylem and phloem. Chlorosis: Iron deficiency Clay: A soil particle which is plate-like, extremely small and may retain nutrients well. Clod: A lump of clay which is difficult to break apart.

Cold Hardy:

Capable of withstanding cold weather conditions.

Compost: A soil product created from decomposed garden material, used in flower beds to add nutrients and encourage good growth.


A cultivated variety of a plant selected for some feature that distinguishes it from the species from which it was selected. Cultivation: Turning the soil to provide better air circulation or to control weeds. Dead Heading: Removing dead flowers before they set seed. Deciduous:

Having leaves that fall off or are shed seasonally to avoid adverse weather conditions such as cold or drought. Defoliation: The process when a plant looses all its leaves. Dethatching: Removing thatches in grass; removal of the dead grass. Die Back: Tips of branches decline due to lack of moisture or disease. Dormancey: When a plant reaches a dormant period, usually in winter. Drainage: The downward movement of water passing through soil. Drip Line: Outmost branch tips where the water would land to feed the tree. Drought Tolerant: The ability of a plant to thrive without much water.

Epiphyte: A plant that lives on a host plant but draws nutrients from the air. Espalier: A flat or fan like like trellis. Established Plant: When the plant is fully rooted. Evergreen: A plant whose leaves or needles are green year-round. Fertilizer: A material added to feed plants rich in nutrients, usually nitrogen (often lost with frequent mowing), phosphates and potash. Fescue: Soft compact fine-leafed grasses. Flower Form: Structure of a flower, i.e. single, semi, double. Foundation Plant:

plant that is used to frame around a house or structure and connect it to the rest of the landscape. Frond: A large leaf with multiple divisions. Fungicide: The chemical used to control a fungus-related disease. Germination: The sprouting of a seed, spore or pollen grain. Genus: A subdivion of a family or subfamily in the classification of organisms. Girdling: Also called ring-barking, is the removal of bark around the circumference of the tree in a ring. The result is a slow death to the part of the tree or woody plant above the damage. Grading: The process of changing the slope level of an area of soil. Grafting: Combining the vascular tissues of two plants to form a hybrid by placing a portion of one plant (called a bud or scion) into or on a stem, root, or branch of another (called the stock) in such a way that a union forms and the partners continue to grow. Ground Cover: Plants which are low-growing and create a blanket appearance over an area. Growing Season: The period each year when the plant grows. Hardscape: Walkways, planters, and areas made of hard material like concrete or rocks that is incorporated into the landscape and balances with the 'softscape'. Hardy: Plants that can survive difficult conditions like frost and severe cold. Hedge: A variety of shrubs that when planted close together will give a wall-like appearance; often used to separate areas. Herbaceous:

Having little or no woody tissue. Most plants grown as perennials or annuals are herbaceous.

Herbicide: A chemical used to control weeds. Horticulture: The science of growing plants, flowers, trees, shrubs, fruit, & grasses.


A plant or group of plants that results from the interbreeding of two distinct cultivars, varieties, species, or genera. Indigenous: Occurring naturally in a particular place. Native.


A mineral used in keeping grass green. Irrigation: Applying water to vegetation and landscape to help it thrive. Leader: The primary shoot of a plant. Leaf Burn: A plant disease that causes a burnt appearance. Leaf Mold: A fungal disease of plants in which mold develops on the leaves. Lime: Calcium material used to raise the pH in soil. Macronutrients: Essential elements needed in large amounts for healthy plant growth: nitrogen, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, and sulfur. Micro Climate: The climate of a small area that is different than the climate of the surrounding area. Micronutrients: Essential elements needed in very small amounts for healthy plant growth: iron, copper, zinc, boron, molybdenum, chlorine, and cobalt. Mulch: A material used to cover soil for moisture conservation and weed suppression.

Native Plant:

A plant that lives or grows naturally in a particular region without direct or indirect human intervention. Indigenous. Node: The part of a plant stem from which one or more leaves emerge. Organic Fertilizer: Compounds derived from decomposition of plant and animal products and include blood meal, bone meal, manure, and sewage sludge. Organic Matter: Biological material in the process of decaying or decomposing. Osmosis: When water travels across a membrane. Peatmoss: A bog like moss processed to be used in potting soils and helps assimilate nutrients for the plant.

Perennial: Persisting for several years, usually dying back to a perennial crown during the winter and initiating new growth each spring.

Pesticide: A chemical used to control an organism. pH: The acidity and alkalinity of soil. Phloem: One of the two types of transport tissue in vascular plants, xylem is the other. Photosynthesis: The process in which plants convert sunlight energy into chemical energy that can be used as fuel to aid in plant development. Planter: The defined area, commonly raised and composed of wood or concrete, used to grow plants. Plant Family: A plant that belongs to a family that shares the same broad characterisitcs. Polladring: A pruning meathod in which a a tree's top branches are cut back to the trunk so that it may produce a dense growth of new shoots. Pollen: A fine powdery substance consisting of microscopic grains discharged from the male part of a flower or from a male cone. Pollenation: The process in which pollen is transferred. Pollenator Bees: Bees that transfer pollen. Pollenizer: A plant that supplies pollen. Pruning: A method of cutting parts of a plant off to control size, health and appearance. Pseudo Bulb: A storage organ derived from the part of a stem between two leaf nodes. Re-foliate: Term used for when a plant grows new leaves after a leafless period, usually in the spring. Rhizome: A horizontal, usually underground stem that often sends out roots and shoots from its nodes. Root Bound: A plant that has grown too large for its container resulting in matting or tangling of the roots.


The part of a budded or grafted plant that furnishes the root system. Also called 'understock'.


A circular arrangement of leaves or petals. Scion: A detached shoot or twig used in grafting.


A low-growing woody plant, usually under 15 feet that often has multiple stems.

Shock: A term used to describe a plant that has been impacted by change, i.e. transplanting, weather, too much or too little water, frost, etc. Sod: Small areas of turf ready for transplant to new locations. Often used to start a new lawn. Softscape: Vegetation used in landscaping which balances with 'hardscape'. Includes trees, flowers, grasses, shrubs. Species: Plant organisms with similar traits capable of off-spring. Specimen: An individual plant used to represent a class or genus or plants.


A genus of 120 species of mosses, commonly called peat moss, that survives well in wet, acidic soil.


Typically a one-celled, reproductive unit capable of giving rise to a new individual plant.


A projecting root or branch.


A tree or shrub that grows to full height.


A stem, at or just below the surface of the ground, that produces new plants from buds at it's tips or nodes.


The negative impact of non-living forces on a plant.


A secondary shoot produced from the base or roots of a woody plant that gives rise to a new plant.

Tap Root:

An enlarged root, that grows downward and forms a center which other roots sprout laterally.


A delicate plant that is usually sensitive to frost or severe cold.

Temperature Tolerance: Cold or heat, the degree at which a plant can handle temperatures and survive. Thatch: The live or dead layer of roots and stems between the turf of a lawn and the soil. Thinning: Pruning or removing some branches in a uniform way throughout a tree or shrub. Topiary: A decorative style of plant growth controlled by shaping with pruning or shearing.

Transplant: Moving a plant from one location to another.


A woody perennial plant having a single, usually elongated main stem or trunk with few or no branches on its lower part. Tuber: A thickened, underground stem or rhizome which stores nutrients. Turf: A ground cover of grass. Variegation: A pattern of leaves that contains either white or yellow markings. Variety: A sub-species of plant. Vegetation: A general term for all plant life. Water Sprout: A nonflowering shoot arising from a branch or axil of a tree or shrub.

Wildflower: A herbaceous plant that is native to a given area and is representative of unselected forms of its species.

Woody Plant:

A plant with persistent woody parts that do not die back in adverse conditions. Most woody plants are trees or shrubs. Xylem:

One of the two types of transport tissue in vascular plants, phloem is the other.

Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square
bottom of page