Turfgrass Management Terms C

Calcitic limestone - a type of pulverized limestone often applied to overly acidic lawns to raise soil pH and restore nutrient availability. Normal lawn care naturally lowers soil pH over time, but applying lime unnecessarily can harm grass instead of help. The only way to know for certain if your lawn or garden needs lime is by soil testing. Calcitic limestone contains calcium, but not magnesium — unlike dolomitic limestone, which contains both

Calibrate - determine or mark the graduation of, or to determine and control the amount of material delivered by a sprayer or spreader on a given area or in a given time

Carpetgrass - native to the Gulf Coast and tropics. Best adapted to the lower Southern states,  this low-maintenance, warm-season grass creates a thick sod that crowds out weeds, tolerates dampness and shade, and covers slopes well. It requires frequent mowing if you want a seedhead-free appearance

Centipedegrass - slow-growing, light-green, low-maintenance grass species that spreads by sending out above-ground runners (stolons). A warm-season grass, it thrives in slightly acidic, sandy soil. Centipedegrass does not have a true winter dormancy period, so it’s susceptible to winterkill in areas with extended periods of low temperatures or extreme temperature fluctuations during spring

Chlorosis - condition in plants relating to the loss or lack of green color. May be caused by disease activity, albinism or nutritional deficiency

Ciliate - fringed with hairs on the margin

Circle - perfectly circular areas of turf infection greater than 4” in diameter

Clippings - portion of the grass cut off by a mower. Traditional advice was to bag and remove the clippings, which typically ended up in landfills. Turfgrass researchers now believe that mulching clippings and leaving them to decompose and add nutrients to the soil is better for most lawns. Due to environmental concerns, many states prohibit sending lawn clippings to landfills

Clover - varieties, particularly white clover, were commonly sold in grass blends until after World War II, when chemical weed-killers were introduced that killed all broadleaf plants, including clover. The industry redefined clover as a weed, but it remains a key ingredient in seed mixes for erosion control. In recent years, clover has made a comeback as a ground cover

Clumping - undesirable mass of grass clippings that results from mowing a wet lawn, a poorly kept lawnmower or a repetitive mowing pattern. Grass clippings are a natural source of nutrients, but too much in one place can smother the living grass beneath it or encourage disease

Collar - region of the outer side of the grass leaf at the junction of the blade and sheath; in golf, area of turf adjoining the putting green that is mowed at a height intermediate between the fairway and the green

Compaction - reduction in the number and size of airspaces caused by compression. It is most often the result of traffic. Compaction prevents adequate water and air penetration, and reduces turfgrass root growth

Complete fertilizer – contain all three major nutrients required for turf growth: nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) — in any ratio, with or without additional nutrients. Example: 22-23-4 

Compost – soil-like substance formed when organic materials, such as leaves, grass clippings and vegetable scraps, decompose. Added to soil, compost helps improve soil structure, replenish nutrients and deliver other benefits

Contour mowing - shape the border between the fairway and rough to add interest, direction or strategy to the golf hole

Convolute - leaf edge rolled longitudinally

Cool-season grass - experience their peak growth periods during cool spring and fall seasons and often go dormant during extreme heat and drought. Most lawn grasses commonly used in northern states are non-native, cool-season types that can’t tolerate southern summers and they grow best between 55 F and 85 F. These include spreading grasses such as colonial bentgrass, creeping bentgrass, Kentucky Bluegrass and bunching grasses such as tall fescue and perennial ryegrass

Coring - removal of a core from a turfgrass area with a soil probe or hollow metal tines, usually to provide aeration

Creeping - spreading just under the surface of the soil

Creeping grasses - grass types that spread by sending out horizontal stems are said to be creeping grasses. These grasses spread by above-ground stems called stolons, below-ground stems called rhizomes, or both. Examples of creeping grasses include cool-season Kentucky Bluegrass and warm-season Bermudagrass. Creeping grasses are more likely to have problematic thatch buildup than bunching grasses

Crown - part grass plant that is the all-important, whitish base where above-ground shoots and below-ground roots meet. When the crown sustains damage from improper mowing, disease or pests, the plant may die

Culm - stem of a grass or sedge plant. In most grasses, the culm is hollow between the nodes

Cultivar - short for “cultivated variety,” meaning that humans intervene in some way to propagate or perpetuate the variety through cultivation and this term distinguishes cultivated varieties of plants from the naturally occurring varieties. Grass cultivars may result from formal breeding programs or naturally occurring variations selected for some outstanding feature, such as drought tolerance, disease resistance, texture or color. Examples: Penncross creeping bentgrass

Cultivation - mechanical procedure such as spiking, grooving or core removal on established turf without destroying its sod characteristics

Cultural practices - refers to all the things that go into lawn care, including aeration, fertilization, overseeding, irrigation and, of course, mowing

Cutting height - distance above the soil line that grasses are clipped

Curb appeal - in real estate parlance, curb appeal refers to whether a home’s outward appearance makes a good impression. A well-kept lawn can add to curb appeal, so it can increase the value of a house


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