A group of microorganisms, intermediate between bacteria and true fungi, which usually produce a characteristic branched mycelium. These organisms are responsible for the earthy smell of compost.



The process by which the oxygen-deficient air in compost is replaced by air from the atmosphere. Aeration can be enhanced by turning.



An adjective describing an organism or process that requires oxygen (for example, an aerobic organism).



An adjective describing an organism or process that does not require air or free oxygen.



A group of microorganisms having single-celled or non cellular bodies.



A narrow ledge or shelf, as along the top or bottom of a slope



Material placed on soil or a stream bank to cover eroding soil.



A dormant, immature shoot from which leaves or flowers may develop.



A small area of permanent vegetation bordering a field, stream, or lake or running through cropland, protecting the soil from wind and rain erosion, slowing water runoff, and trapping sediment and other pollutants



Cohesive soil whose individual particles are not visible to the unaided human eye (less than 0.002 mm in diameter). Clay can be molded into a ball that will not crumble.



The pressing together of soil particles into a more dense mass



Composting is the biological degradation and transformation of organic solid waste under controlled conditions designed to promote aerobic decomposition. Natural decay of organic solid waste under uncontrolled conditions is not composting.



Conifers are cone bearing trees. Common conifers are Pine, Spruce and Cypress, and Cedars. The Yew tree is also classed within the conifer family despite producing berries rather than cones. Coniferous trees are distinctive in having needles as opposed to leaves and being evergreen rather than deciduous, although there are exceptions to this, such as Larch, which is deciduous.


Erosion Control Blanket

Blanket made from compost, topsoil, straw, or any material and enveloped in plastic or biodegradable netting. Used to stabilize disturbed or highly erosive soils while vegetation is established. Temporary blankets made from biodegradable or photodegradable components last several months to a year, and permanent blankets (also called turf reinforcement mats) can last for several years.



Removal of soil particles by wind and water


Field Capacity

The amount of water a soil can hold


Fill Material

Soil, rock, gravel or other matter that is placed at a specified location to bring the ground surface up to a desired elevation



Plantlike organisms that lack chlorophyll  and use living or dead organisms as food by breaking them down and then absorbing the substances into their cells. Fungi make up one of the five kingdoms of living things on Earth. Mushrooms, yeast and molds are types of fungi.



Any material capable of killing fungi. Sulfur and copper sulfate are two common mineral fungicides.



Textile made from synthetic fibers, usually non-biodegradable. Geo-textiles can be woven or non-woven and have varying degrees of porosity. They are used as moisture barriers, for separation or reinforcement of soils, for filtration, and for drainage.



Soil particles ranging from 1/5 inch to 3 inches in diameter


Green Wood

This is wood that is 'fresh', that is, taken straight from a felled tree or a branch that has been removed from the tree. The wood still holds a vast amount of water and because of this is easier to work with, softer and still retaining its natural, living shape. When green wood is dried, it can crack and split due to shrinkage from the loss of moisture. However, if stacked and stored correctly, wood can be dried, or 'seasoned' so that splitting, cracking or decay do not occur.



Hardwood refers to the timber of broadleaved trees.



A plant with soft rather than woody tissues.



Dark colored soil organic matter.



Not composed of organic matter. Involving no organic life or products of organic life.



Any material that kills insects. There are numerous botanical and mineral powders that are toxic to insects, as well as biodegradable chemicals such as insecticidal soaps.


Invasive Species

Native or non-native plants that invade and attempt to dominate an area already colonized by other plant species. As they can be very aggressive, existing plants and trees can suffer from being over shaded and become suppressed, die or self-set seeds may not germinate due to space restrictions and shade.


Leaf Litter

Leaf litter refers to leaves that have fallen from the canopy of trees, shrubs and other flora that remain on the woodland floor. This is an essential part of the woodland ecosystem as it allows nutrients from the soil that are used by plants to be recycled back into the soil upon degradation.



A rock powder consisting primarily of calcium carbonate that is used to raise the pH or to decrease the acidity of acid soils.



An easily crumbled soil consisting of a mixture of clay, silt, and sand


Microscopic Soil Particles

Clay and silt; particles that cannot be observed by the unaided human eye



Any material placed on the soil surface to reduce evaporation, help control weeds or prevent erosion. Mulch is any material, such as wood chips, grass clippings, leaves, or compost that is spread over the surface of soil.



Fungi in soil; beneficial mycorrhizae in the root systems of plants help plants withstand extreme temperatures and increase their capacity to acquire nutrients



Very important plant nutrient to help plants to develop foliage and stem growth. It is the main ingredient of lawn food.


Organic Matter

Soil material deriving from living material, composed of carbon containing compounds. Yard waste, food waste, manure, and woody debris; these organic materials decompose in nature to make healthy soil.


Over seeding

Adding new seeds into an existing lawn to improve bare spots, thicken turf and helps crowd out weeds.



Any plant that lives more than three years and does not die after flowering once. The term is generally applied only to herbaceous plants, which die back to the ground each year, as opposed to those with persistent, woody stems - though there is a variety of opinion published.



pH describes how acidic or alkaline a substance is. pH is measured on a scale of 1-15. A pH of 1 is the most acidic and toxic to most forms of life whilst at the opposite end of the spectrum a pH of 15 is the most alkaline and also toxic to life. A pH of 7 is called neutral.
It is very important to know the pH of a woodland soil because this will affect the choice of tree species which will be best suited to the conditions. A soil may be adapted to raise or lower the pH to provide more ideal conditions as a growing medium, although in some cases, the soil may eventually return to its previous pH value.



A thick underground stem from which buds and roots develop. Usually persistent from year to year.



Soil particles greater than 3 inches in diameter



Soil particles ranging from 0.05 to 2.0 mm in diameter; individual particles are visible to the unaided human eye


Seasoned Wood

This refers to fuel wood that has been allowed to dry before burning. Seasoning generally takes six to 12 months. Wood burns much easier when its moisture content has been reduced. Freshly cut wood contains over 20% water.



Soil particles that have been transported away from their natural location by wind or water action



A young plant, with particular reference to those grown from seed as opposed to cuttings.



Soil whose individual particles are not visible to the unaided human eye (0.002 to 0.05 mm). Silt will crumble when rolled into a ball.



Plugs, squares, or strips of turf with the adhering soil



Softwood refers to the timber of coniferous trees.



The unconsolidated cover of the earth (not compacted),  made up of mineral and organic components, water and air and capable of supporting plant life. Soil finer than sand but coarser than clay, but not so fine that it can remain suspended in water for long periods. The grain size is considered to be less than 0.0625 mm.


Soil Amendment

Any material added to the soil to enhance plant growth and soil tilth through improving the physical, chemical, and biological status of the soil. They contain mostly organic matter or very slow release minerals. Soil amendments are usually tilled into the top six inches of the soil.


Soil Organic Matter

All organic substance in the soil, living or dead, fresh or decomposed. Includes plant roots, small animals, plant and animal residues, humus and microbes.



Plants within a species have several characteristics in common, but most importantly, can cross with one another, but not normally with members of another species. The classification of species is quite fluid, with frequent revision by botanists.



A shoot or stem that grows from the root of a plant - often after it is damaged by digging too close to the plant. The resulting plant growth is usually weaker than from the main stems and should be cut off so as not to drain the plant of energy.



Maintain and keep in existence



Refers to relative proportions of clay, silt, and sand in soil



Cultivated soil in good physical condition for supporting soil life. Soil is loose and easy to work, so tools as well as plant roots can readily dig in. The tilth of the soil is a composite of its texture, structure, aggregation, density, drainage, and water holding capacity.



A layer of organic material between the crown of the plant and the true soil surface



A thin layer of soil applied to a turf



The surface layer of soil containing partly decomposed organic debris, which is usually high in nutrients, contains many seeds, and is rich in mycorrhizae.



This is land that during the majority of the year is damp, if not flooded. It is characterized by a specific flora of plants that are able to cope with the lack of oxygen in the soil and the levels of nutrient accumulation that are toxic or become inaccessible to non-wetland plants. Many wetlands have been drained for agricultural purposes or polluted by toxic run-off and as a result the species which live in them are often rare and endangered.


Yard Waste

Plant material commonly created in the course of maintaining yards and gardens and through horticulture, gardening, landscaping or similar activities. Yard debris includes, but is not limited to grass clippings, leaves, branches, brush, weeds, flowers, roots, windfall fruit, and vegetable garden debris.