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By John Smith
Master Gardener

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The purpose of the journal is to provide horticultural information in a simple, brief form for use by gardeners in the Tulsa area, and elsewhere. Come here to find things one would put in a notebook for quick reference (glossary), and anecdotal information from other gardeners (experience).

Abscisson: The normal separation of a leaf or fruit from a plant. It is the result of a pithy layer of cells forming at the base of the stem.

Acid soil (soil with a pH below 7.0). The pH of the soil plays a role in nutrition of the plant. Examples of plants which prefer an acid soil are azaleas, pin oaks, and blue hydrangeas. In the case of hydrangeas, flower color can be determined by the pH of the soil.

Adventitious: The development of roots or buds in an abnormal site of a plant. This is the basis for asexual propagation of plants by stem cuttings.

Alkaline soil: Soil with a pH above 7.0. It is found in the western part of our state. Check OSU Fact Sheets:
2229: Soil pH & Buffer Index
6701: Locating the Greenhouse
7621: Phymatotrichum Root Rot

Annual: a plant which germinates, matures, produces seed, and dies in one year.

Anther: The part of the stamen that carries the pollen.

Apex: The tip of the stem or branch.

Aphids: common sucking insect found on trees and vegetables. It can be seen with the naked eye. It produces a sticky, sweet excretion called honeydew. This will drop from trees onto cars parked beneath them. Honeydew on plants is a food source for ants.

Apical: The tip of the highest part of the stem.

Apical dominance: The effect of auxins produced from the apex of the plant. This causes growth of roots; more rapid growth of the apical stem, and inhibition of growth of lower buds and branches. (See auxins.)

Autumn sowing is commonly called fall gardening. Guides for suitable plants are found in 6009: Fall Gardening Fact Sheet . and Tips for Fall Vegetable Gardeners

Auxin: (From the Greek : "to stimulate:') This is actually a group of plant hormones that play a role in plant growth and development The most important is indole-3-acetic acid (IAA). It plays a role in:
     Apical dominance
     Fruit development
     Root initiation.
It is for this last function that it is sold commercially as a "Rooting Hormone".

Axil: The angle formed at the junction of a leaf petiole and the stem of the plant.

Axillary: The buds formed at the junction of the petiole and stem of a plant are axillary buds. They may be either a leaf or a flower bud.

Axis: The main stem of a plant; or of a compound leaf or flower or fruit cluster.


Bare root: A plant that is lifted in dormancy and sold wrapped in a protective cover without soil.

Biennial: Plants which germinate, mature, produce seed and die over forty-eight months. Many of these plants do not flower until the second year.

Blood Meal: an animal by-product used as a source for nitrogen. Usually contains 12% nitrogen, no P or K.

Bolting: when plants become mature, they swell in thecenter, send shoots up which flower and then produce seed. This is common in cole cultivars as the weather warms in early summer.

Boron: one of several micronutrients required for healthy plants. Soil with pH above 7.0 inhibit boron absorption. Suspect boron deficiency when beets have a black heart; turnips have brown spots.

Bract: A modified leaf that forms beneath the flower. The red or colored leaves of a poinsettia are actually bracts.

Brassica: A member of the cruciferae family. Examples are cabbage, cauliflower, turnip.

Budding: A propagation technique in which a single bud is used. In crepe myrtle this stem is then trained as a central leader of the plant.

Bud: A structure of embryonic tissue on a plant that will become a leaf, a flower, or a new shoot.

Bud break: When a plant begins to come out of a dormant state, buds enlarge and shed their protective scale. This change in the plant is used for timing of grafts.

Bulb: A modified underground stem that has a shortened central axis surrounded by fleshy, scale-like leaves. Tulips are an example.

Brushing: A mechanical technique of strengthening stems of plants grown in the greenhouse. Styrofoam is pulled across the stems of tomato plants up to ten times daily. The home gardener can simulate this with a file card or your hand. The stems are up to 20% shorter with reduced internode distances and stockier stems.


Cages: a mechanical device to promote vertical growth of a plant. In limited garden space this is an effective tool. Concrete wire mesh is commonly used. Plants must be held within the mesh. Heavy fruit will require additional support.

Calyx: The structure of a flower that is composed of sepals.

Cambium: The layer of actively dividing cells beneath the bark. Those on the inside form xylem,, while those on the outside produce bark. This is the layer in herbaceous and woody perennials that has the ability to form adventitious roots or stems, and is utilized for plant propagation.

Central Leader: The dominant central stem of a plant, shrub or tree.

Classification of plants: A systematic method ofgrouping plants for study was done in England in the 1800’s. This allows horticulturists from all nations to understand ideas and findings in scientific magazines. The knowledge of Family, Genus, Species and Cultivar will meet the needs of home gardeners. (See Taxonomy.)

Clay soil: (see Soils).

Cloches: a bell shaped translucent cover for protecting tender plants placed in the garden early in the season. This is a “mini-greenhouse” producing favorable growing conditions for these plants.

Clone: A group of plants which are derived vegetatively from one parent plant. This can be done with a single leaf, a stem, or even a single cell.

Cold Frame: a rectangular structure with a sloping, translucent lid which produces a favorable growing environment for tender plants early in the season. These allow several plants to be grown in one structure.

Companion planting: the practice of planting two different vegetable together for a specific benefit.

Compost: material produced by adding several ingredients, and allowing it to decompose. It is an attempt to reproduce humus, the organic material found in the floor of a forest. Leaf mulch, grass clippings, shredded newspaper, water, and a source of bacteria (soil) are mixed. The mixture must be kept moist and turned to allow air to enter. After several weeks the desired product is available for the garden. It may require screening if it is to be added to the soil. Without screening, the compost can be used for mulch.

Compount Leaf: Formed when several leaves are attached by their petioles to one stem (rachis).

Coniferous: That group of trees which bear cones.

Container gardening: Plants can be grown in containersif there is limited space, or if the gardener enjoys the esthetics of this technique. Ceramic containers require more water due to evaporation. This subject is covered in great detail in several publications.

Corm: A modified stem that has the appearance of a bulb. It differs from a bulb in that it has no scales, and is solid. Crocus and gladiolas are examples.

Cottonseed Meal: A natural fertilizer obtained from the oil of cottonseed. It is a source of nitrogen (7-2-2), and has an acid pH.

Cotyledon: The primary leaves contained in the seed embryo. They appear soon after sprouting, and are not the true leaves of the plant. Most seedllings should not be transplanted until the true leaves appear.

Creeping: Is used to describe the growth habit of certain ground covers. Creeping phlox is a common example.

Crop Rotation: Placing the same vegetables in the same spot each year carries two potential hazards. Nutrients can be depleted; disease can be concentrated. To avoid these potentials, rotate the crops which are planted to different areas.

Cultivar: A group of plants that do not occur naturally, and are maintained by cultivation (asexual propagation), usually stem cuttings.

Cutting: A section of a stem or piece of a plant used to propagate a new plant. Can be stem cuttings, root cuttings, tip cuttings. Sometimes called a slip or a syme. (see propagation).

Cyme: One type of flower bearing (inflorescence0. Multiple flowers are born on a central axis. The hydrangea has this type of flower.


Deadhead: The removal of mature flower heads from a plant. If this is done prior to seed formation, the energy devoted to making seeds is returned to nurturing the plant.

Deciduous: A class of plants which loose their leaves every year in the fall.

Defoliation: The abnormal loss of leaves by a plant. Usually related to disease or stress. It can also be the result of chemical damage.

Determinate: The type of plant on which all the fruit tend to ripen at the same time. This should be taken into account when planting tomatoes, and the purpose for growing them. If you desire to can tomatoes, this type of plant produces the best harvest for that purpose.

Diatomaceous earth: A geologic deposit made of the fossilized skeletons of siliceous marine and fresh water organisms. When crushed, they break up into tiny pieces of glass (so tiny that it feels like talcum powder). It is picked up by the hairy bodies of most insects where it scratches through their protective wax layers. This causes the insect to loose water rapidly and die. It is not selective, so use with caution to prevent injury to the good ones. Good to eradicate slugs.

Dicot: A shortened version of dicotyledon. These are flowering plants which have two "seed leaves" produced from the seed.

Dioecious: So called "imperfect" flowers. The staminate (male) and pistillate (female) flowers are born on different plants. They require one of each plant to successfully pollinate the flowers and produce seeds.

Disbud: The technique of removing buds from the plant stem and branches. This is done to enhance the flowers or fruit from the remaining buds. A horticultural technique used to grow show dahlias. Also used to improve fruit quality in apples and peaches.

Disease in plants: This is a complex subject. I will list a few helpful suggestions:

  1. Identify the genus and species of the plant. You can then go to a reference which has lists common diseases of specific plants;
  2. For visual diagnosis at your extension center, bring a normal and a diseased branch of the plant;
  3. List the microenvironment of the plant – which side of the house; how much shade; how much water; type of soil; fertilizers and herbicides used; and
  4. Spacing of plants.
  5. For more information please see the OSU Digital Diagnostics Data Base.
Dolomitic limestone: a rich source of calcium and magnesium that also neutralizes acid soil. The stone is quarried, ground, and sold as agricultural lime. The chemical formula for dolomite is CaMg(CO 3 ) 2, Calcium Magnesium Carbonate.

Dormant: The state of markedly diminished cellular activity in a plant. Usually induced by plant hormones reacting to diminished light and temperature (see Auxins) It can also be induced by drought and stress.

Double flower: Flowers with more than the usual number of petals, colored sepals or bracts. Frequently they have double the usual number.

Drip Line: An imaginary line around a tree which represents the outermost extent of its branches as measured on the ground. This is the area where most plants receive their nourishment, and is used as a guide for fertilizer application.

Drought tolerant: Plants which survive under arid conditions. These plants may be referred to as xerophilous, and are used for xeriscaping.

Drupe: Fleshy fruit whose seed is enclosed by a hard wall. Sometimes called pit fruits, Examples are cherries, apricots, peaches.


Earthworms: A very beneficial addition to soil. The quality of garden soil can be measured by the numbers of worms found per square foot. They can also be used for composting , a process called vermiculture. They act by pulling humus and compost from the top layers of soil down into lower layers.

Egg Shells: May be added to soil for their calcium content. Crushed egg shells on the surface discourage crawlers such as slugs.

Embryo: The plant within a seed.

Epiphyte: Plants which derives its nourishment and moisture from the air, but lives on another plant (Spanish moss).

Espalier: The technique of training a tree against a wire or wall with horizontal branches in tiers.

Evergreen: A tree or shrub that has green foliage throughout the year.


Family: Part of plant taxonomy (naming). This category contains related species. In taxonomy they become genus.

Fertilizing: Plants require a healthy diet to grow their best. Nutrients are of two basic types: macronutrients and micronutrients. Macronutrients are Nitrogen, Phosphorous, Potassium. Labels on fertilizer containers will have these elements listed in this order by numbers. A common fertilizer is listed 10-20-10. This means that for each 100 pounds of fertilizer, there will be 10% or 10 pounds of nitrogen, 20% or 20 pounds of phosphorous, and 10% or 10 pounds of potassium; secondary macronutrientss are calcium, magnesium and sulfur. Micronutrients are iron, manganese, copper, zinc, boron, chlorine, molybdenum.

Fertilizers may be classified by content as complete or incomplete: Those which contain all three macronutrients are complete. If one of the macronutrients is missing, it would be incomplete.

Fertilizers may be classified as organic or inorganic. Organic fertilizers are by products of a once living organism. Examples are fish emulsion, urea, bone meal, blood meal, composted manure or sludge. Most of these have a lower nitrogen content.

Inorganic fertilizers are chemically formulated. These may be altered to produce a slower rate of release by several methods. Coating of the granules in a commonly used technique. Foliar feeding: Spraying of the leaves, stems and or fruit of a plant. An efficient and rapid method of providing nutrients for a plant. French Intensive Gardening: Attributed to the need of individuals with small backyard beds, or farmers trying to increase their per season yield. Components include double digging (to a total depth of two feet). Raised beds, large amounts of added humus, and special planting techniques. Beds are usually small enough that the center can be reached from either side. Plants are spaced equidistant and close enough that leaves touch. This produces shading which saves moisture. Catch croping is used to increase yield. A modern version of this technique has been called “postage stamp gardening”. A note of caution: soil must be compacted enough to produce capillary action for plant nutrition.

Fibrous Root: The thin, multi-branched roots near the soil surface.

Framework: The bare branches or skeleton of a tree or shrub in dormancy. May also be called scaffold.

Fungicide: Materials used to prevent the growth of fungus. Fungicide is really a misnomer, since it implies killing of the fungus. These substances inhibit the growth of new fungus by inhibiting spore formation.

Furrow Up: Technique of raising portions of a bed for planting. This is suggested for onions, garlic, and others.


Genus: Used in plant naming (taxonomy) for groups of related plants.

Germination: The process of breaking dormancy, and beginning growth by a seed, spore or pollen grain. (See propagation).

Globose: Spherical or ball shaped.

Glaucous: Used to describe the appearance of smooth, waxy leaves.

Grafting: A propagation technique where a bud or stem part (scion) is grafted into a second plant (rootstock). When selecting grafted plants (shrubs or trees) choose ones whose rootstock is native to your area.

Grafted shrubs or trees may also have grafts from another plant in their top part. This is referred to as top working, and is commonly used to produce weeping types of shrubs or trees. It is also used for grafting multiple types of fruit bearing trees. The big disadvantage is fruits ripening at different times.

Green Manure: A green manure crop is one that can be grown over a season when a bed is not in use, often fall and winter, and later tilled into the soil to improve fertility. A cover crop is one that should be tilled in about a month before you plant your garden. Moist soil in the spring may pose a problem. Plant the fall crop early enough that it matures and can be worked into the soil before it freezes. Certain clovers, or winter rye are examples.


Habit: Used to describe the growth form of a tree or plant. They are usually geometric descriptions as round, globular, columnar, triangular

Hardening off: Greenhouse or cold frame seedlings require a period of exposure to lower temperatures and wind before they can be transplanted into the garden. This gradual process of exposure for a week or so is called hardening off.

Hardiness: Refers to the lowest temperature that a plant can withstand. The United States is divided into zones which represent average low temperatures for specific regions, called hardiness zones. This is found on the internet by searching for USDA plant hardiness zone.

H erbaceous: A group of plants that have pithy stems. The arrangement of vascular bundles is throughout the pith. They do not have woody stems or branches.

H illing up: Piling dirt around the stem of a plant to:

  1. Prevent wind damage;
  2. Encourage stem roots;
  3. To blanch the plant; and
  4. As a temporary planting.

Hip: The fruit of a rose. Some are used in cooking. If continued flowering is desired, they should not be allowed to form.

Humus: An organic substance which is the end product of decaying organic matter. Forest floors are an example. The end product of composting is another example. It is used to improve the tilth of soil by increasing its organic content.

Hybrid: A plant produced by cross pollinating plants of different species or cultivars. Seeds from these plants do not usually remain true to the hybrid. They must be propagated vegatatively (by cuttings).

Hydroponics: A method of plant production in which no soil is used. The plants are grown in water containing nutrients.

Hydrophilic Gels: Commonly called hydrogels. These compounds absorb many times their weight in water, and release it as the environment becomes dry. This material is being refined since first discovered about twenty years ago. More information is available in Horticultural Digest.


Inoculant: A material resembling charcoal that contains granules of rhizobium bacteria. These bacteria fix nitrogen to the soil for plant use. Legumes require a diet high in nitrogen. This can be produced by dusting the seed with an inoculant prior to planting.

Indeterminate: Describes a flowering in which lower or outer flowers bloom first, thus allowing indefinite elongation of the main axis of the plant. This type of tomato plant is selected to produce fruit over a longer period of time.

Inflorescence: Used to describe the arrangement of flowers on a flowering axis.    Spike: Individual flowers placed along an elongated stem.    Raceme: A modification in which individual flowers are attached by a stem.    Corymb: Individual flowers are attached in different point on the peduncle.    Umbel: The pediceis of the flowers radiate from the same point at the top.    Cyme: A group of flowers in a flat arrangement.    Panicle: Small groups of flowers on a central axis placed alternately on a central axis.    Solitary: A single flower with a pedicle attached to the stem.

Insecticidal soap: An organic insecticide containing potassium salts of fatty acids. It is a contact insecticide which must be sprayed directly on the pest.

Internode: The distance between growth buds. This is a good measure of available light for a growing young plant. Internode distances become longer with rapid growth in suboptimal light. This is seen outside in plants in shady locations.


Layering: A method of either breaking dormancy of a seed, or of producing adventitious roots from the stem of a plant. See propagation.

Leaf Cutting: Leaves that will root, generally from house plants.

Lights, growing plants under: Plants may be propagated under lights if other factors are satisfactory. The intensity of the light is more important than the color spectrum.


Microclimates: The environment immediately surrounding a plant. Elements are moisture of the soil, type of soil, pH of the soil, amount of light, protection from the wind.

Mid-rib: The central vein of a leaf. Leaves have characteristic venation that is a help in tree identification.

Monocot: Short term for monocotyledonous. Plants whose seeds contain only one seed leaf. The onion family is a good example. With germination, a single leaf emerges in a folded position. It then straightens up to form the central stalk of the plant.

Monoecious: Flowers imperfect. The staminate (male) and pistillate (female) flowers born on the same plant. These plants are capable of self-pollination.

MSDS : (Material Safety Data Sheet) MSDS is intended to provide workers and emergency personnel with procedures for handling or working with that substance in a safe manner.

MSMA : (Monosodium methanearsanate) (MSMA) is a commonly used herbicide used in warm-season climates.

Mulch: Usually an organic material such as ground pine bark that is used to cover the soil around a plant. Advantages are retention of moisture, cooling of soil, prevention of weeds, and decorative accents. Other materials used are cottonseed hulls, pecan hulls, cedar bark, cypress bark, pine needle straw, oat or wheat straw.


Naked bud: A bud that does not have a covering scale.

Naturalise: To plant as if growing in nature. Would be in a lawn, meadow, or other non-gardening setting.

Node: The point on a stem where a leaf or stems grows.


Organic Gardening: A gardening method which uses only materials derived from organic sources. The soil is fertilized with manure and similar products. Pests are controlled with organic materials, such as bacillus thuringensis (B.T.), or insecticidal soaps.

Organic Growers Base: Pine bark can be ground and composted to produce an organic growing base for use by the nursery trade. Sphagnum peat moss can be ground and mixed with either perlite or vermiculite to produce an organic growing base for the nursery industry.

Ornamental: Plants grown for their ornamental value which have no food value or other commercial value. (candy for the eyes).


Palmate: Hand shaped. Useful in describing certain leaves e.g. acer palmatum.

Panicle: Branched flower cluster of racemes or corymbs. The flowers mature from the bottom upward. Itea.

Paper Pots: Growing containers furnished from newspapers. Forms are available for producing these.

Peat and Sphagnum Peat Moss: Sphagnum moss is used by the floral industry to line wire baskets and make wreaths. Sphagnum moss is living plants taken from the surface of a peat bog. Sphagnum peat moss is the dead material that accumulates in the depths of a peat bog. It is commonly sold in a compacted form, and used as a soil conditioner. Sphagnum peat moss may be mixed with perlite or vermiculite to be used as a growing base for the nursery industry.

Pedicle: Stalk of a flower when in a cluster, or individual.

People Diseases Lurking in the Garden: We go to our garden with a sense of pride and satisfaction. Hours of cold weather dreaming followed by diligent toiling and planting give us joy in the sights and smells. Little do we suspect that lurking in the fertile soil, and clinging to our favorite rose, are potential hazards. These are in the form of organisms too small to be seen by the naked eye.

These little microorganisms must gain access through our skin “envelope”. This is only possible by pricking or cutting our skin, entering in the air we breathe, or by ingestion.

The elderly in poor health and those with compromised immune systems are most at risk.

Anthrax: Anthrax is caused by exposure to the spores of the bacteria Bacillus anthracis that become entrenched in the host body and produce lethal poisons. It is primarily a disease of grazing animals, and most human cases are associated with handling the infected animals(wool sorters disease). The cutaneous form is most easily healed if diagnosed early enough. The Pulmonary form is the most potentially lethal. The bacillus may produce spores which last for decades in the soil. If they are caused to be airborne, pulmonary infection can occur. This is a disease of developing third world countries, extremely rare in the United States.

Coccidiomycosis: is an infectious disease caused by Coccidioides immitis, a fungus which lives in the soil of endemic areas made up of the southwestern United States - Most people have mild flu-like symptoms. People with compromised immune systems are most at risk for serious disease.

Histoplasmosis: Beware of dusty old barns and other farm buildings. If you dig prime compost out of these buildings, the dust may contain a fungus Histoplasmosa capsulatum. It is prevalent in the soil of the Mississippi valley. Usually enters through the lungs and causes flu-like symptoms. The fungus can also spread through the blood stream to the eyes. It responds to antifungal medication.

Sporotrichosis: This little fungus, Sporothrix schenckii, resides on rose thorns, or in sphagnum moss. This is probably the most prevalent infectious disease of gardeners and those in the trade in the United States. It enters through the rose prick, or a cut while handling sphagnum moss. Several cases have been reported in workers forming topiaries. Usually a hand or arm entrance leads to red streaks up the arm with red nodules developing in the tract. Eventually, the nodules will break open causing a draining ulcer. There are specific medicines for treatment.

Tetanus: Tetanus bacteria (Clostridium tetani) are found world wide. They are commonly found in soil, dust and manure. They can enter through small puncture wounds, but more commonly enter through deep cuts, or open fractures. This is an acute, often fatal disease which can be prevented by vaccination. Those with primary vaccination should have boosters every ten years (Center for Disease Control).

Toxoplasmosis: A single cell parasite, Toxoplasma gondii, is found throughout the world. Cats passing the garden will deposit this parasite in the soil. Accidental ingestion of cat feces is the course of entry (touching your mouth after gardening). The human immune system usually keeps this parasite from causing illness. Pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems are most at risk.

Gardeners can protect themselves from these diseases by the following practices:

  1. Keep your tetanus immunization current
  2. Wear protective gloves when pruning
  3. Wash you hands thoroughly (ten minutes with a nail brush is surgically clean).

National Foundation for Infectious Diseases Center for disease control:

Perennial: A plant which germinates, flowers, produces seed and lives for more than two years. There are two general types: Woody perennial, those with woody stems which are retained during dormancy; and Herbaceous perennial, plants whose stems die to the ground annually, then sprout from the roots the following year.

Perfect Flowers: Flowers that have both functional stamens (male parts) and pistils (female parts). These are the monoecious plants.

Perlite: A generic term for naturally occurring silicous rock. With heating it expands from four to twenty times its original volume. It is pH neutral. When mixed with sphagnum peat it forms a sterile growing medium.

pH Primer: Curiosity about our surroundings has been the stimulus for many studies. Early chemists noted differences in solutions. Some tasted sour, some bitter, some felt slimy. They noted violent reactions when metals were placed in some; and, bland or no reaction in others. A common finding was the presence of free Hydrogen ions in solutions. Our nature is to place knowledge in an orderly fashion. This makes it easier to learn, understand, and teach. From this arose the classification of acids and bases.

Acid: a substance that increases the H + [hydrogen ions] in a solution.

Base: a substance that reduces the H + in a solution.

The familiar H 2 O formula is known by most. The individual components of water are held in a rather tight equilibnum.

This is represented: H +<-->OH -

Stronger reactions were noted in acids with more "available" hydrogen ions. Examples are sulfuric and nitric acid. Looking at the equilibrium precept and the available hydrogen precept, a more recent definition of an Acid: a compound which can donate hydrogen ions.

Some orderly method of measuring acidity and alkalinity was needed. Ordinary water at room temperature was used to measure the concentration of hydrogen ions. This measurement was .0000007 Moles of hydrogen. A more convenient "shorthand" method was needed to write this, so the logarithm was chosen: 10 -7 .

In order to convert the negative logarithm to a positive number, the negative logarithm of the hydrogen ion concentration was chosen.

This gives us the pH scale, which represents the negative logarithm of the hydrogen ion concentration. So the neat 0-14 scale became our benchmark for determining acidity. Acids are in the 0 to 6 range; 7 is neutral, bases are 8 to 14 range.

Remember that the logarithm is based on sets of 10, so each integer is 10X greater, or less than its neighbor. If you move two integers, it is l0Xl0 or l00X different.

We live in the same range as most plants. Some pH examples:

Pure Water 7.0
Blood 7.5

We seem to enjoy acidic condiments:

Lemon Juice 2.3
Vinegar 2.9
Wine 4.1
Coffee 5.0

We cook and clean with basic solutions:

Baking soda

Adjusting Soil pH in the Garden

Raising the soil pH to make it more alkaline.

  1. To increase the pH by 1.0 point:
  2. Add 4 ounces of hydrated lime per square yard in sandy soil
  3. Add 9 ounces of hydrated lime per square yard in loamy soil
  4. Add 12 ounces of hydrated lime per square yard in clay soil
  5. Add 25 ounces of hydrated lime per square yard in peaty soil

Correction of an overly acid soil should be considered a long term project, rather than trying to accomplish it in one year. It is better to test your soil each year and make your adjustments gradually. The addition of hardwood ash, bone meal, crushed marble, or crushed oyster shells will also help raise the soil pH.

Lowering the soil pH to make it more acid.
Sulfur may be used to lower the pH of the soil. To reduce pH by 1.0 point mix 1.2 oz of ground rock sulfur per square yard in sandy soil. Use 3.6 oz per square yard for all other soils. Sawdust, composted leaves, wood chips, cottonseed meal, leaf mold and peat moss will lower the soil pH.

How does pH relate to plant nutrition? That will be a future story.

For more information go to: pH Tutorial or go to;
     Click on Google search;
     Search for: pH tutorial.

Soil pH for Selected Landscape Plants

Pollination: The transfer of pollen from the anther to the stigma in seed plants. Some plants are self-pollinating having both male and female flowers on the same plant (monoecious). Dioecious plants require transfer by wind or insescts.

Propagating Medium -- Sterile: When taking cuttings for propagation the instructions often recommend the use of “sterile medium.” It is best to use a mix of sphagnum moss with sand, perlite or vermiculite. This medium does not contain ordinary soil and eliminates organisms that would potentially harm seedlings.

A mixture of half sand (or vermiculite) and half sphagnum moss can be sterilized in the oven or the microwave and makes an excellent propagating medium. The sand (or vermiculite) adds texture to the medium which prevents caking.

Oven: Moisten the mixture (to produce steam) and place it in a pan with an aluminum foil cover. Make vent holes in the cover. Bake at 180 degrees for about one hour.

Microwave: Place the mixture in a plastic bag with moisture. Leave the bag open, cover with paper towels to absorb moisture, and microwave on high for 90 seconds.

Let the mixture cool before adding seeds or cuttings.
Referance: Sterile Soil

PSDS : (Product Saftey Data Sheet) PSDS is intended to provide workers and emergency personnel with procedures for handling or working with that substance in a safe manner.


Raised Beds: A method of gardening used when native soil is of poor quality, or lacks adequate drainage. Containers are constructed on the soil with several inches of depth, and good soil is placed in the container for gardening. If double digging is used, the original soil must be worked to several inches, then the container and good soil placed on this bed. **MORE**

Root: The descending axis of a plant, without nodes and internodes. Usually underground.

Rootbound: Plants grown in closed containers will develop a mat of roots at the junction of the plant and the container, usually in a whorled patter around the plant. These roots should be pruned before transplanting to a large container.

Rust: A fungus disease. Small reddish to brown spots appear on the leaves or stems of the plant which then turn yellow. Prevent by providing ventilation between plants, avoid foliar watering, buy rust resistant seed.


Scion: A small apical branch cut from a tree and placed into rootstock for grafting. They may be from one quarter to five eighths of an inch in diameter, and from six to eight inches long. They are harvested from an actively growing tree, then stored in carefully regulated moisture and cold until spring. When the bark of a tree begins to slip, the scion can be inserted for a graft. This then becomes the main stem or trunk of the tree.

Seedlings, care of: Germinating seeds produce one or two leafed seedlings. These require adequate warmth, light, moisture and nutrition to thrive. “Brushing” or exposure to fans or wind will strengthen stems. They must have two or more true leaves before transplanting; and, must be hardened off before transplanting out of the hot house.

Seeds, germinating of: Seed selection: Purchase fresh seeds produced for current growing season. Pay attention to selecting cultivars resistant to common diseases.

Pre-planting care of seeds: Store fresh seeds in the refrigerator. Some seeds require several days or weeks of cooling prior to planting. Some seeds need a period of freezing prior to planting.

Stratification: Some seeds have thick or tough seed coverings. These will need to be soaked overnight in water to help break the cover. This process is called stratification.

Plant seeds in sterile, moist (not wet) growing medium. Most seeds are planted to a depth equal to three or four times the diameter of the seed.

Light requirements: Some seeds need light and should be planted on the surface of the medium. Others prefer dark, and need to be covered. Light requirements may change for growing on.

Temperature: most seeds prefer temperature in the lower to mid seventies. There are exceptions.

Moisture: Seed beds should be kept moist by spraying. Shade Tolerant: Certain plants will grow with reduced (not absent) sunshine. These are called shade tolerant. Dappled sunlight is the term applied to their light requirements.

Sepal: One of the outer perianth segments, sometimes similar to a petal (tulips) but often green and leaf like.


TYPES: Based on texture (this can be determined by feeling the soil): Sand: Contains coarse mineral particles, feels "sandy". Silt: Contains fine mineral particles. It feels smooth and floury when wet, but not slick. Clay: Microscopic particles which feel smooth when dry, become slick when wet.

ORGANIC CONTENT: In nature, the organic content of soil is related to the plant material growing in the soil. Grasslands have less organic material than forests.

GARDENING SOIL, MINERAL CONTENT: The ideal texture for gardening is called loam.. The mineral composition Is 7% to 27% clay; 28% to 50% silt; and up to 50% sand.

GARDENING SOIL, CHARACTERISTICS: Soil should consist of 50% voids, 50% solids. The voids consist of 35% air, 25% water. The solids consist of 49% mineral (loam) and 1% organic. The organic content may be raised to 3-5%.


SOIL TESTING: The purpose of soil testing is to determine the amount of major and minor nutrients, soil pH, and composition.

ADJUSTING SOIL pH: Alkaline soil with pH above 7.0, add sulfur to lower the pH. Acid soil with pH below 7.0, add lime to raise the pH.

For more information please see:
How to Get a Good Soil Sample
6007: Improving Soil Fertility
2225: Soil Test Interpretation

Species: A group of plants with very similar characteristics. A plant originally found in the wild and not the result of hybridisation or plant breeding by horticulturists.

Spore: A reproductive cell that grows directly into a new plant. See ferns and fungus.

Sport: A naturally occurring, spontaneous genetic change in a plant.

Spur: A short branch system, usually carrying flower clusters.

Staking or Caging for Tomatoes: The type of tomato, and the training done by the gardener will dictate whether a stake or cage is best. If suckers are not pruned the plant will tend to become quite bushy, and lends itself to caging. A neatly pruned plant trained to a strong central leader lends itself to staking. Both may require additional support for heavy fruit.

Stigma: The flower part that receives pollen.

Stolon: A horizontally spreading stem with roots at its tip.

Stomata: Pores in the epidermis of a leaf, important in maintaining moisture balance.

Style: Narrow part of the pistil carrying the stigma.

Sucker: A shoot which grows from a root system either below or at ground level. Suckers are often from rootstock of grafted plants. Older trees when stressed will produce suckers from the trunk or larger limbs.


Tendril: A modified stem or leaf, usually filiform, branched or simple, that twines about an object providing support.

Terminal Bud, Shoot, Flower: Found at the tip or distal end.

Thinning: The process of reducing the number of plants in a row, or the number of branches on a plant. This allows space for sunlight to enter, and improves air circulation.

Topiary: A type of pruning that forms common shapes or objects out of growing plants.

Topsoil: The uppermost part of the soil structure. It can vary from a few inches to several feet.

Tuber: A swollen area of a plant root used for food storage (potato).


Underplant: The planting of one plant beneath another to obtain a favorable growing environment. Banana plants are grown over coffee trees in Central America to provide shade for the coffee. The banana plant can easily be cut down to increase sunlight.


Variegation: Leaf color which is striped, mottled, or margined with a color other than the normal green where green is normal.

Variety: Subdivision of a species having a distinct though often an inconspicuous difference, and breeding true to that difference.

Vermiculite: A naturally occurring mineral resembling mica. When heated, it expands several times to form a pH neutral soil amendment. It aerates the soil, and retains water (vermiculite several times more than perlite). It is added to sphagnum peat moss to produce an excellent growing medium.


Watering: Deep watering by lower volumes applied over longer periods is best for plants. This encourages deep root growth, as opposed to shallow root growth in rapid high volume, short duration watering. Drip irrigation is an excellent method of low volume, slow application. It also prevent foliar watering which encourages fungal growth.

Weeds: Any plant growing where it is not wanted becomes a weed. There are four broad categories of weeds: Cool weather annual; Cool weather perennial; Warm weather annual; and Warm weather perennial. Weeds can be prevented by mulching and applying pre-emergent herbicides. Weeds which are growing require pulling or application of post- emergent herbicides. Thumbnail Index of Weeds from Rutgers University

Windbreak: Oklahoma gardening requires knowledge of common foes: drought, heat and wind. The use of a windbreak prevents wind damage and helps prevent drought.


Xylem: Water and nutrient conducting vessel of a plant.