Lawn Terms Glossary: the Most Important Terms for Lawn Work

Navigating the realm of lawn care can sometimes feel like deciphering a foreign language. From understanding the intricacies of soil pH to differentiating between aerating techniques, there’s a lot to take in. This glossary aims to clarify the jargon, providing you with a comprehensive guide to the terms used in lawn care.

Acidic Soil: This refers to soil with a pH value less than 7.0, indicating a higher concentration of hydrogen ions.

Aerobic: A term indicating a healthy soil environment where air is present, essential for plant roots.

Alkaline Soil: Soil with a pH value greater than 7.0, indicating fewer hydrogen ions.

Aeration: The act of introducing air into the soil, either manually using a garden fork or with a specialized machine.

Anaerobic: The opposite of aerobic; it signifies a lack of air in the soil.

Annual: Plants that complete their life cycle within a single year fall under this category.

Biennial: These plants take two years to complete their life cycle.

Broad leaf: Commonly used to describe certain types of weeds with broader leaves.

Compaction: This occurs when soil particles are compressed, leading to a breakdown in soil structure and resulting in reduced air circulation.

Compound Fertiliser: A type of fertiliser containing multiple nutrients, like Nitrogen and Potash.

Complete Compound Fertiliser: This fertiliser variant contains all three major nutrients – Nitrogen, Phosphate, and Potash.

Crown: The topmost part of the base of a plant.

Core Aeration: Also referred to as hollow tining, it’s a process wherein cores of thatch and soil are removed from the lawn using hollow cylindrical tines.

Cultural: This approach focuses on natural methods for lawn maintenance, eliminating the use of chemicals.

Damping Off Disease: A disease known to target newly sown grass.

Drag mat: A tool used to evenly distribute top dressing over a lawn.

Dry Patch: A condition usually arising during droughts where the soil becomes hydrophobic, making it difficult to re-wet.

Evaporation: The process through which water is lost back into the atmosphere.

Evapotranspiration: A combination of water loss through both evaporation from soil and transpiration from plants.

Fertiliser: Essential nutrients applied to lawns to encourage healthy growth. The primary nutrients being Nitrogen, Phosphate, and Potash.

Fungi: These are organisms, both beneficial and pathogenic, that derive sustenance from dead and living plants and animals.

Fungicide: A chemical agent used to combat fungal diseases affecting turf.

Fusarium: A prevalent disease especially during autumn and winter. Annual meadow grass is particularly susceptible.

Foot printing: A condition evident during droughts. When grass is stepped on, it fails to bounce back, leaving footprints.

Germination: The phase when shoots emerge after sowing new seeds.

Granular: Describes the form in which certain fertilisers or weed killers are applied.

Herbicide: A chemical solution employed to control lawn weeds.

Hollow Tine: An aeration method that involves extracting cores from the lawn.

Insecticide: A chemical solution used to combat lawn insects.

Irrigation: The manual application of water, typically during droughts.

Infiltration: Describes how water travels through the soil.

Lawnsand: A product commonly used in spring to combat moss.

Leaching: The downward movement of nutrients, chemicals, etc., through soil layers.

Leatherjackets: These are tiny grubs that feed on grass roots and can lead to bird damage as birds peck at the lawn to eat them.

Micro Organisms: These are tiny fungi and bacteria residing in the soil, visible only under a microscope.

Mulching: A practice where grass clippings are returned to the lawn instead of being collected.

Moles: Underground dwelling animals that can damage lawns by pushing up heaps of soil onto the surface.

Nitrogen: A pivotal nutrient for lawns, promoting growth when applied during spring and summer.

Nutrients: Essential mineral elements that bolster lawn health. Nitrogen, Phosphate, and Potash are the primary nutrients.

Pathogens: Harmful bacteria in the soil that can cause plant diseases.

Perennial: Plants with a life cycle extending beyond two years.

Pest: Any entity, be it weed, disease, or insect, detrimental to the lawn.

Pesticide: Chemicals designed to control lawn pests.

pH: A measure to determine soil’s acidity or alkalinity.

Potash: A crucial nutrient fortifying the plant against diseases.

Phosphate: Another vital nutrient that bolsters root development.

Reel Mower: A synonym for cylinder mower.

Red-thread: A disease primarily resulting from nutrient deficiency. Grass types like rye grass and fescues are prone to it.

Renovate: An effort to restore or enhance a lawn’s condition.

Rhizome: A type of plant stem situated underground, helping plants spread.

Root Zone: The soil area containing plant roots.

Rotary Mower: A mower type that cuts grass using a blade spinning parallel to the ground.

Scalping: A mowing error where grass is cut too short, leading to scalping.

Scarify: A process to remove thatch or moss from lawns using vertical blades or a rake.

Selective: Pertaining to herbicides or weed killers that target specific types of plants while sparing others.

Stolon: An above-ground plant stem aiding in its spread.

Sward: Refers to the grass coverage on a lawn.

Tiller: The formation of lateral plant shoots.

Transpiration: The process of water loss through plants.

Take-all Patch: A disease typically linked with a swift pH increase, with bent grasses being especially prone.

Verti-Cutter: Similar to a scarifier, this machine combats thatch accumulation.

Weed: Any undesired plant growing in a lawn.

Wetting Agent: A product aiding in water penetration during droughts, reducing surface runoff.

This glossary offers a snapshot of the vast world of lawn care. By familiarizing yourself with these terms, you can better navigate and understand the intricacies of maintaining a beautiful lawn.

Oliver Thompson
Lawn Care Expert

About Oliver: Oliver Thompson, a seasoned lawn care expert from the Cotswolds with over two decades of experience, invites all enthusiasts to join him in exploring the world of lawns, sharing knowledge, and fostering a vibrant community of lawn enthusiasts. More info

Leave a Comment

Some posts may contain affiliate links. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.