Plant Science Terms - W

Warm-season grasses - turf that has its optimum growth in mid to late spring or even early summer when temperatures reach between 80 and 95°F. Their major growth and flowering happens when the weather is hot. They will usually turn shades of brown for the winter

Water plant - plants that can grow on pond edges or in ponds or streams

Water Soluble Fertilizer - fertilizer that either comes in liquid form or comes in crystal form that is dissolved in water

Water sprout - vigorous shoot originating above the ground on a plant’s trunk, older wood, or bud union. Usually breaks from a latent bud, often the result of heavy pruning

Water Wise - plant that does well in a landscape that manages water sensibly, using moisture zones and managing water use.  Includes other aspects such as mulching, reduction of turf grass etc.

Water-holding capacity (WHC) - ability of a soil’s micropores to hold water for plant use

Water-soaking - a dark, “wet” appearance to a spot, best seen by holding the leaf up to a light source; lesions appear wet and dark and usually are sunken and or translucent Often a symptom of bacterial disease

Watering - plants differ somewhat on how much water they require and will generally fall into 5 categories.  These categories are most relevant for plants in containers but also apply to in ground plantings

Watering-in - initial watering after plants have been potted or repotted into new containers

Weed - plant growing where it is not wanted

Weed and feed fertilizers - combination of fertilizer and herbicide and often used on lawns to prevent certain weeds from germinating, or to kill existing broadleaf weeds

Weediness - likelihood of seeds germinating into unwanted plants that must be removed

Wet - these plants need soil that is constantly moist to wet. Plants in the wet category also will do well on pond edges or as pond plantings.  They do not tolerate dry soils

Wet Feet - when the soil in a container or the landscape stays wet, plants may be referred to as having wet feet.  The roots on some plants do not like to be constantly wet and we might say that the plant doesn't like to have wet feet.  Conversely, the roots on some plants don't mind being constantly wet and we might say that the plant doesn't mind having wet feet

Wetting agent - chemical that aids in liquid-to-surface contact

Wetwood - another name for slime flux

Whorled leaf arrangement - three or more leaves are attached at the same point on the stem (node)

Wilt - loss of rigidity (cell turgor); drooping and drying plant parts due to interference with the plant’s ability to take up water and nutrients (water conduction)

Wilting point - point at which the water content within plant cells is low enough that cellular turgor is lost and the plant wilts

Winter annual - annual plant in which the seed germinates in the fall, producing a plant that over-winters, matures, and produces seed the following growing season

Witches’ broom - abnormal proliferation of shoots on one area of a stem; This plant condition is suspected of being caused by a genetic mutation or a virus where all adventitious buds in a certain part of the plant start growing, resulting in a lot of tiny stems; abnormal brush-like development of many weak shoots

Woody perennial - plants with woody fiber in the stems, branches, and roots. In addition, it goes dormant in winter and begins growth in spring from above-ground stems

Woundwood - after wounding, callus forms. It is a tough, woody tissue full of lignin that grows behind callus When the wound closes, then normal wood continues to form


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