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Turfgrass Terms

General Terms

Aerification: The process of puncturing the soil with small holes to allow air, water, and nutrients to penetrate the grass roots.

Thatch: The layer of dead grass, roots, and debris that accumulates between the soil surface and the green grass blades.

Sod: Grass and the part of the soil beneath it held together by the roots.

Topdressing: The application of a thin layer of soil or compost to the turf’s surface to improve the soil structure over time.

Dethatching: Thatch is a layer of dead grass, roots, and other organic matter that can build up on the surface of the soil. If the layer becomes too thick, it can prevent water, air, and nutrients from reaching the soil, leading to a weak, thin turf.

Overseeding: The practice of sowing grass seed into existing turf, without tearing up the turf or the soil. It’s an easy way to fill in bare spots, improve the density of turf, and enhance the lawn’s color.

Irrigation: The artificial application of water to assist in the growth of crops and vegetation

Fertilization: The application of plant nutrients to support healthy growth.

Verticutting: Vertical mowing that cuts into the thatch layer, allowing for improved air, water, and nutrient penetration.

Pesticide: Any substance or mixture of substances intended for preventing, destroying, repelling, or mitigating any pest.

Herbicide: A type of pesticide used to kill unwanted plants.

Fungicide: A type of pesticide that kills or inhibits the growth of fungi and their spores.

Turfgrass: Grasses specially grown and used for sports fields, golf courses, lawns, and other utility areas.

Cultural practices: The routine activities (mowing, watering, fertilizing, aerating, etc.) performed to maintain turfgrass health and quality.

Turfgrass Disease: Diseases that affect the health and aesthetics of turfgrass, caused by a variety of microorganisms such as fungi.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM): A pest control strategy that involves a variety of biological, cultural, physical, and chemical tools in a way that minimizes economic, health, and environmental risks.

pH: A measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a soil.

Drainage: The natural or artificial removal of surface and sub-surface water from an area.

Cool-season grasses: Grasses that grow most vigorously during the cooler temperatures of fall and spring and often go dormant in summer.

Warm-season grasses: Grasses that grow best in the heat of mid-summer.

Soil compaction: The process by which the soil structure is compressed, often leading to reduced turfgrass growth due to decreased air and water infiltration.

Root zone: The depth and volume of soil in which roots are concentrated, often topsoil.

Turfgrass Physiology: The study of life processes in turfgrass, including metabolism, reproduction, growth, and development.



Bio stimulants



Poa Annua: A type of annual bluegrass that can often become a weed in turfgrass management due to its rapid spread and seed production.

Rhizome: A horizontal underground stem that has the ability to produce the shoot and root systems of a new plant. Some turfgrass varieties spread primarily through rhizomes.

Stolon: Similar to a rhizome, but above ground. Stolons allow the grass to spread across the surface.

Tillering: The process of producing side shoots, resulting in thicker turf.

Endophyte: A fungus living within a plant for at least part of its life without causing apparent disease, often providing certain benefits to the host plant, like increased resistance to pests.

Selective herbicides: Herbicides that are designed to kill specific types of plants, without harming others.

Non-selective herbicides: Herbicides that kill all plants they come into contact with.

Pesticide Resistance Management (PRM): Techniques to prevent or delay the development of pesticide resistance, including the rotation of different classes of pesticides and integrating non-chemical methods.

Soil Testing: A procedure that measures the quantity of certain key nutrients in the soil, as well as pH, to help determine what amendments may be needed for optimal plant growth.

Hydroseeding: A planting process that uses a slurry of seed and mulch, sprayed over prepared ground in a uniform layer. It’s often used to seed grasses on commercial lawns and areas with steep slopes.

Bermudagrass: A warm-season grass commonly used in southern regions for lawns, golf courses, athletic fields due to its heat tolerance and aggressive growth habit.

Evapotranspiration (ET): The sum of evaporation and plant transpiration from the Earth’s land and ocean surface to the atmosphere, an important factor in watering strategies.

Perennial Ryegrass: A cool-season grass used widely in many types of turf situations, valued for its quick germination rate.

Soil Percolation Rate: The rate at which water moves down through the soil profile, a crucial factor in determining proper irrigation.

Nutrient Runoff: The movement of nutrients, especially nitrogen and phosphorus, from the soil into water bodies, which can cause problems like algae blooms.

Turfgrass Cultivar: A distinct variety of a turfgrass species that has been intentionally selected for certain attributes, such as drought tolerance or disease resistance.



Brown Patch: A disease that results in irregular patches of blighted turfgrass. It’s caused by the fungus Rhizoctonia solani.

Dollar Spot: A fungal disease that creates small, round, straw-colored patches, typically the size of a silver dollar. The disease is caused by the fungus Sclerotinia homoeocarpa.

Snow Mold: A type of fungal disease that commonly occurs under snow cover, causing circular patches of dead or matted grass blades when the snow melts. The two types are Gray snow mold (Typhula spp.) and Pink snow mold (Microdochium nivale).

Fairy Ring: A disease characterized by circular rings of faster growing, darker green grass, often with an outer ring of dead grass. It’s caused by many different species of fungi in the soil.

Pythium Blight: A disease caused by Pythium spp. that produces small, irregularly-shaped, water-soaked spots on the leaves and stems. The disease is most active in hot, humid weather.

Anthracnose: A fungal disease that causes yellowing and death of the turf, often resulting in irregular patches of discolored and dying grass. It’s caused by the fungus Colletotrichum cereale.

Take-all Patch: This is caused by the fungus Gaeumannomyces graminis var. avenae, resulting in irregular patches of thinning, yellowing, or dead grass.

Leaf Spot/Melting Out: These diseases are caused by several different fungi (Bipolaris, Drechslera, and Exserohilum spp.) and result in spots on leaf blades and sheaths, which can lead to thinning of the turf.

Necrotic Ring Spot: A disease caused by the fungus Ophiosphaerella korrae. It causes rings or arcs of dead grass, often surrounded by a border of dark green grass.

Red Thread: A disease caused by the fungus Laetisaria fuciformis that results in red or pink threadlike growth appearing on the grass blades.

Rust: Turfgrass rust diseases are caused by several different Puccinia spp. and result in small, yellow-orange pustules on the grass blades.

Summer Patch: A disease caused by the fungus Magnaporthe poae that results in patches of wilted and dying grass during the summer months.

Fusarium Blight: Also known as Fusarium Patch or Pink Snow Mold, caused by the fungus Microdochium nivale. It is identified by small reddish-brown patches that can merge to form large irregular patches.

Grass Species




SLENDER CREEPING RED FESCUE Festuca rubra litoralis


CHEWINGS RED FESCUE Festuca rubra commutata

BROWNTOP BENT Agrostis capillaris

CREEPING BENT Agrostis stolonifera

HARD FESCUE Festuca brevipila

TALL FESCUE Festuca arundinacea

TUFTED HAIRGRASS Deschampsia caespitosa

CRESTED HAIRGRASS Koeleria macrantha