(C) Cumberland County Master Gardeners Association, 2009

 ~~~ Glossary ~~~

The plant description pages contain terms for many characteristics that are defined in this section.  We are listing them here in the order in which the plant characteristic appears on the plant description page. 

USDA Cold Hardiness Zone.    The U.S. Department of Agriculture has defined Cold Hardiness Zones for the U.S. in 10-degree (F.) increments.  Cumberland County is almost entirely in Zone 6, with a small southern portion, off the plateau, as Zone 7.  Average Annual Minimum temperature for Zone 6 is 0  –10 degrees Fahrenheit.  There have been individual days here with lower temperatures.  The zones that we list are a range of suitable zones for that listed plant.  The lower zone number represents the colder part of that range. 

Mature Size:  We list the size range as Height X Width.  Many of the plant descriptions cover more than one variety of a plant, so a range of heights or widths is shown, covering the most popular varieties.  The “Description / Comments” section on the plant page will sometimes have more definition of sizes for listed varieties. 

Growth Rate:   We list the comparative growth rate for a plant as related to most other plants in the same “Category”.  For example, we compare one evergreen tree’s growth rate with other evergreen trees.  The terms that we have used are:

Fast = significantly faster than average
= About average
= Significantly slower than average 

Sunlight Requirements:  We have used four sunlight values.  In many cases, we show a range, such as “Full Sun to Part Sun”.

Full Sun = Nearly always in substantial sun during the growing season.  Full sun for six hours or more.  
Part Sun
= Alternates between full sun and full shade during the growing season.  Less than 6 hours per day
Light Sun
= Dappled sun / shade or filtered sun / shade during the growing season.
Dense Shade
= Always dark, little or no sun available.  Usually found under thick, high trees and shrubs, next to the North side of a house or under a deck.   
Adaptable = Used here only when a plant is tolerant of the full range of sunlight conditions.

Water Requirements: 

Dry to Moderate = Water thoroughly without over-saturating.  Keep moist during root development; allow soil surface to dry completely before watering after plant is rooted.
Moderate to Moist
= Water thoroughly without over-saturating.  Keep moist but not wet.
Moist to Wet
= Water thoroughly to keep moisture constant.  These are conditions found near streams and bogs.
= Used here only when a plant is not at all fussy about the amount of moisture in its soil. 

Maintenance Requirements:

Low = Requires little or no maintenance.  Pruning only if desire for shaping.  Generally disease and insect resistant.
:  Requires some annual or semi-annual removal of dead / old growth or flower heads.  Plants may also need fungus or insect control.
=  Requires regular maintenance throughout the growing period such as feeding, deadheading and disease control.  May require pruning one or more times a year. 

Soil Requirements:  We list either unusual pH requirements or soil conditions, or both as appropriate.  Most Cumberland County soil will need amendment with lime to achieve a normal range pH 6-7.   

= a soil pH less than 6
  Neutral = a soil pH between 6 and 7
= a soil pH that is greater than 7

Soil Conditions:
Well drained Soil
= Allows water to readily percolate through it
Sandy Soil
= Dry or well drained
Sandy Loam
= Well drained soil with a moderate content of organic matter.  This type of soil retains moisture well, but is not soggy.  
Clay Soil
= May be very wet or very slow draining.  Typically grey color on the Plateau.
Lean soil
= Usually dry, probably sandy, and low in organic matter.
Adaptable = Used here only when the plant is known to be tolerant of a wide range of soil types.  

Invasive:  A plant that escapes into the wild, often to the detriment of the natural plant and animal ecosystems.  These should be managed carefully in your landscape.

Aggressive: Either self-sowing to the point of being a pest and / or roots or stolons escaping their allotted space and crowding out other flowerbed partners.

                                            Back to Home Page        To Plant List Page