Glossary of Common Terms

clay soil
Clay soils are composed of very fine particles that when wet feel sticky. Clay typically feels very heavy and holds water longer than other soil types.
compacted soil
Compaction occurs when soil particles are pressed together reducing the infiltration of water and air. This can be caused by construction, vehicles, or heavy foot traffic.
dappled shade
Dappled shade is a garden site under a canopy of trees and this area receives about two to three hours of sunlight filtered through the branches above. When one looks up into the canopy between one-quarter to one-third of the sky is still visible through the foliage.
deciduous plant
Plants that are deciduous completely lose all of their leaves in autumn and new foliage grows back in springtime.
deep shade
This type of shade is dense with little to no direct sunlight, usually occurring from an almost impenetrable overhead canopy of trees with less than one quarter of the sky being visible.
deer resistance
Virtually no plant is invulnerable to being damaged by deer if population pressures or severe weather conditions prevail. However, there are a number of plants that are generally less favored and are rarely disturbed by deer. If a Great Plant Picks selection is listed as resistant to deer, it will seldom, if ever, be affected by them.
drought tolerant
Plants only require supplemental water about once a month during the dry season after being established (typically two years of regular supplemental watering during the dry season).
evergreen plant
Plants that are evergreen retain leaves throughout the year.
foliage—deciduous plant
Plants that are deciduous completely lose all of their leaves in autumn and new foliage grows back in springtime.
foliage—evergreen plant
Plants that are evergreen retain leaves throughout the year.
foliage—semi-evergreen plant
Plants that are semi-evergreen lose some leaves in the autumn, but retain some throughout the winter.
full sun
A garden site with full sun receives six or more hours of direct sunlight each day.
hardiness zones
Hardiness zones provide the minimum average winter temperature for a given area. This is only one factor of many that account for a plant’s survival. Local nurseries or the cooperative extension service can provide your hardiness zone.
light requirements—full sun
A garden site with full sun receives six or more hours of direct sunlight each day.
light requirements—dappled shade
Dappled shade is a garden site under a canopy of trees and this area receives about two to three hours of sunlight filtered through the branches above. When one looks up into the canopy between one-quarter to one-third of the sky is still visible through the foliage.
light requirements—deep shade
This type of shade is dense with little to no direct sunlight, usually occurring from an almost impenetrable overhead canopy of trees with less than one quarter of the sky being visible.
light requirements—light shade
Light shade offers the most versatility for a wide range of plants to thrive. These areas receive about four to six hours of direct sunlight every day.
light requirements—open shade
Open shade and light shade are often considered interchangeable, but there are distinct differences. An area of the landscape considered to have open shade is one that is exposed to the sky but with little to no direct sunlight. This usually occurs when a structure or building blocks any direct sunlight, but the area does not have a foliar canopy above it.
moist watering
Plants require supplemental water 2 to 3 times a week during the dry season.
occasional watering
Plants require supplemental water every 10 to 14 days during the dry season.
open shade
Open shade and light shade are often considered interchangeable, but there are distinct differences. An area of the landscape considered to have open shade is one that is exposed to the sky but with little to no direct sunlight. This usually occurs when a structure or building blocks any direct sunlight, but the area does not have a foliar canopy above it.
plant height
Approximate plant height, depending on growing conditions. For trees, conifers, shrubs, bamboos and woody vines, this is estimated height at 10 years of age.
plant height—mature
Approximate plant height at maturity, for trees, conifers, shrubs, bamboos and woody vines above 10 years of age.
plant width
Approximate plant width, depending on growing conditions. For trees, conifers, shrubs, bamboos and woody vines, this is estimated height at 10 years of age.
plant width—mature
Approximate plant width at maturity, for trees, conifers, shrubs, bamboos and woody vines above 10 years of age.
regular watering
Plants require supplemental water once per week during the dry season.
sandy soil
Sandy soils are composed of larger particles that feel granular and grainy. Sand is typically well-drained and does not retain water well.
semi-evergreen plant
Plants that are semi-evergreen lose some leaves in the autumn, but retain some throughout the winter.
shade—dappled
Dappled shade is a garden site under a canopy of trees and this area receives about two to three hours of sunlight filtered through the branches above. When one looks up into the canopy between one-quarter to one-third of the sky is still visible through the foliage.
shade—deep
This type of shade is dense with little to no direct sunlight, usually occurring from an almost impenetrable overhead canopy of trees with less than one quarter of the sky being visible.
shade—light
Light shade offers the most versatility for a wide range of plants to thrive. These areas receive about four to six hours of direct sunlight everyday.
shade—open
Open shade and light shade are often considered interchangeable, but there are distinct differences. An area of the landscape considered to have open shade is one that is exposed to the sky but with little to no direct sunlight. This usually occurs when a structure or building blocks any direct sunlight, but the area does not have a foliar canopy above it.
soil—clay
Clay soils are composed of very fine particles that when wet feel sticky. Clay typically feels very heavy and holds water longer than other soil types.
soil—compacted
Compaction occurs when soil particles are pressed together reducing the infiltration of water and air. This can be caused by construction, vehicles, or heavy foot traffic.
soil—sandy
Sandy soils are composed of larger particles that feel granular and grainy. Sand is typically well-drained and does not retain water well.
soil—well-drained
Well-drained soils allow water to move through reasonably quickly and not stand and pool. Puddles will not last longer than an hour or two.
soil—wet
Wet soils will puddle during winter rains and the puddles remain for longer than one day. Even during dry summers the soil often remains moist.
watering—drought tolerant
Plants only require supplemental water about once a month during the dry season after being established (typically two years of regular supplemental watering during the dry season).
watering—frequent
Plants require supplemental water 2 to 3 times a week during the dry season.
watering—occasional
Plants require supplemental water every 10 to 14 days during the dry season.
watering—regular
Plants require supplemental water once per week during the dry season.
well-drained soil
Well-drained soils allow water to move through reasonably quickly and not stand and pool. Puddles will not last longer than an hour or two.
wet soil
Wet soils will puddle during winter rains and the puddles remain for longer than one day. Even during dry summers the soil often remains moist.