Garden Lingo: S – T


SALT MARSH HAY –  a better mulch collected from the grasses grown in coastal marshes. Generally does not contain weed seeds and is fluffy.

SAP – the fluid in plants . 

SAPLING – A very young tree.

SCALD –  overexposure to sunlight a discoloration will develop.

SCAPE – a leafless flower stem that will grow directly from the base of the stem.

SCARIFY – to scratch or break the hard coat of some seeds.

SCION – A suitable piece that is a desirable specimen of a woody plant, used in grafting.

SCOOPING (de-eyeing) – A technique that is used to produce a shorter and bushier plant by scraping out the center eye of the bulb.

SEEDHEAD – Dried, inedible fruit that contains seeds.

SELF POLLINATION – The transfer of pollen from one flower to another flower on the same plant.

SELF-SEEDED, or SELF SOWING – A plant’s habit of shedding seeds in the immediate area.

SEMI-EVERGREEN – Those shrubs that will keep some of their green foliage usually in mild climates.

SHARP SAND -Rough sand. Great for drainage, and propagation.

SHEAR – A method of pruning in the landscape.

SHEET COMPOSTING – A method of piling un-decomposed organic materials over the soil and waiting for decomposition.

SHRUB – A woody plant with a framework of branches and little or no central stem.

SIEVE – A garden sieve is a frame with a mesh bottom.

SLIP – An older fern once used for a cutting.

SLOW RELEASE FERTILIZER – Generally a natural fertilizer that over a period of time will release its nutrients.

SOIL AMENDMENT – Anything added to the soil to improve the present situation, i.e. drainage, nutrients, or makeup.

SOIL LESS GARDENING – Another name for hydroponics.

SOIL LESS MIX – This would be any medium for containers.

SOIL POLYMERS – Super absorbent polymers that have been around for a while, that can be added to retain moisture containers.

SOLARIZATION – The process by which one can sterilize the soil by the sun. C

SOLUBLE FERTILIZER – A fertilizer that is mixed with water and used not only for root fertilizing but can also be sprayed on the foliage.

SOOTY MILDEW – is a fungus. It looks like a dark gray spots or in general scum on stems and leaves. It is formed from the honey dew excreted that is produced by aphids and other insects. The honeydew that is created is attacked by the mildew and will go after the sugars in the honeydew.

SOOTY MOLD – Several insect pests will release honey dew, which is a sticky substance that then mold grows on.

SPECIES – This is a group of plants that have common characteristics.

SPECIMEN PLANT – A plant that is high lighted to show off its special qualities.

SPENT – Bulbs and flowers of a plant that have finished blooming.

SPHAGNUM MOSS – Many mosses native to bogs are sphagnum.

SPICES – seeds, fruits, or roots used to flavor cooking.

SPORE – A microscopic reproductive cell of non-flowering plants.

STEM CUTTING – A portion of a stem that only includes one or more nodes taken from a plant.

STERILIZED SOIL – It is soil that is steam- or chemically sterilized.

STIGMA – This is the part of the female organ of the flower which receives the pollen.

STOCK – The “mother plant” of which cuttings are taken.

SUBTROPICAL – Very specific area, 5 to 10 degrees higher in latitude than the Tropic of Cancer of the Tropic of Capricorn.

SUCCESSION PLANTING – When one plants a fast crop one week or so after another.

SUCCULENT – Succulent plants have leaves and/or stems which are thick and fleshy.

SUCKER – A shoot which arises from an underground shoot or root of a plant.

SUN SCORCH – Spots on leaves that are caused by exposure to strong sunlight.

SUNKEN GARDEN – A landscape design where some of the garden is at a lower point than the rest of the garden.

STAKING – Plants that grow tall with little stem support need to be staked. P

SWAMP – An area of land that usually flooded and contains woody plants.

SYSTEMIC INSECTICIDE – A pesticide which can be granular or liquid, used at the base of the plant and travels through the vascular stream.


TAMPING – A method by which one will press that soil around a plant that has just been planted making sure soil is secure and firm around the roots.

TAP ROOT – The main root, sometimes swollen, which grows vertically into the soil.

TENDER – An indoor plant which requires a minimum temperature of 60°F.

TENDRIL – Plants  producing a cordlike structure that will help to support themselves.

TERRA COTTA – An Italian term that means “baked earth”. These clay pots are unglazed and excellent for growing most plant material.

TERRARIUMS – Any transparent container with a cover so plants may grow.

TERRESTRIAL – A plant which grows in the soil as opposed to aquatic or perched on trees.

THATCH – Any material that does not quickly decompose.

THICKET – Any area that has a lot of miscellaneous undergrowth, generally of small shrubs, bushes, and vines.

THIMBLE and THUMB POTS – British miniature clay pots.

THINNING – Picking out the overpopulated seedlings in any flower or vegetable bed, to make a better growing condition for the rest.

THRIPS – Insects that feed on all parts of the plant: leaves, flowers, buds, and stems. Very popular in the destruction of daylilies.

THUG – Thugs are invasive plants. They are growing in the right conditions, but ironically thugs can make a statement when they are perennials in the right garden.

TILL – Plowing the earth and preparing it for planting.

TIP CUTTING – A cutting taken from the top end of a shoot.

TIRED SOIL – A term referring to a piece of land that has been exhausted of its nutrient value.

TISSUE CULTURE – A very sterile practice of propagating plants from the mother plant.

TOPIARY – The horticultural art of clipping and training woody plants to form geometric shapes or interesting patterns.

TOPDRESS – A process that means to apply on the surface of soil.

TOPSOIL – Soil that is on the very top, hopefully containing a lot of humus and good elements needed for growth.

TRAILING – Any plant that grows long stems and will grow along the ground and will root as it goes along.

TRANSPIRATION – The loss of water through the pores of the leaf.

TREATED SEEDS – Seeds that have been protected against diseases.

TROPICAL PLANT – A plant that grows in tropic zones.

TRUG –  It basically is just a shallow basket for light chores, like carrying flowers and fruits and veggies.

TUBER – A storage organ used for propagation.

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