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Algae: Simple plants without visible structure that grow in wet locations. Some types of algae form a slippery black or green scum on wet soils, plants, walkways, and other surfaces.
Alkaline soils: soils with a pH of more than 7.0, the neutral point. The soil is usually alkaline in regions that receive less than 20 inches of rain a year.
Annual plant: A plant that grows, flowers, produces seeds or fruit, and dies within a year or less. Many herbaceous flowers and vegetables are annual plants.
Biennial plant: A plant that grows, flowers, produces seeds or fruit, and dies in two years. Some herbaceous flowers and vegetables are biennial. Most biennial plants produce foliage the first year and bloom the second year.
Compost: Partially decomposed organic matter used to amend the soil. Compost is often made from grass clippings, leaves, and manure.
Conifers: Woody trees and shrubs that produce cones. Common conifers include pines, firs, spruces, junipers, redwood, and hemlocks.
Evergreen: A plant that retains all or most of its foliage throughout the year.
Fertilizer: Fertilizers contain plant nutrients. They may be liquid or dry, and may be formulated in many different ways.
Hardiness: The ability of a plant to withstand cold temperatures.
Hybrid: The offspring of two distinct plant species; a plant obtained by crossing two or more different species, subspecies, or varieties of plants. Hybrids are often made to produce a plant that has the best qualities of each parent.
Mulch: A layer of organic or inorganic material on the soil surface. Mulches help to moderate the temperature of the soil surface, reduce loss of moisture from the soil, suppress weed growth, and reduce runoff.
Parasite: An organism that obtains its food from another living organism. Parasites live on or in their host.
Partial shade: Direct sunlight fror a limited time – between 1 and 5 hours daily.
Perennial: A plant that regrows from the same root year after year. Perennial life spans can vary anywhere from three years to a lifetime.
Pesticide: A chemical used to kill an organism considered a pest.
pH: pH is a measure of acidity and alkalinity, on a scale from 0 to 14. The lower the number, the more acid the soil. A pH of 7.0 is neutral, neither acid nor alkaline.
Resistant plant: A plant that can overcome the effects of a disease or insect infestation, or a plant that is not very susceptible to attack by a pathogen.
Tender plant: A plant that cannot tolerate freezing temperatures.
Toxin: A poisonous substance produced by a plant or an animal.