Turfgrass Management Terms D

Damping off - disease of seeds or young seedlings caused by fungi, usually occurring under wet conditions

Deadheading – the process of removing old, spent flower blossoms to encourage plants to continue blooming. The entire “dead head" of the flower — its petals and base — is removed by hand or pruners before the flower can produce seed. Preventing seed production keeps the plant's energy focused on producing more flowers. 

Decumbent - term applied to stems that lie flat and turn up at their ends

Decurrent - extending downward from the point of attachment

Desiccation - drying out of grass plants, which can damage or kill them. It can occur in summer droughts or during dry winters, when grasses dry out due to inadequate moisture, snow cover, or high wind. Improper mowing can increase desiccation, especially during times of environmental stress

Dethatcher - tool used to remove thatch, the layer of organic matter that accumulates where grass meets soil. Dethatchers come in manual, electric and gas-powered models that remove thatch in a variety of ways

Dethatching - process of removing thatch accumulation from a lawn. Thatch less than ½-inch thick benefits your lawn, but a thicker thatch layer can harm it. Typically, only spreading grasses need dethatching; bunch-forming grasses do not. Proper timing is crucial for all dethatching projects and can be completed mechanically with a vertical mower or biologically by topdressing with soil

Dichondra - dense, warm-season, perennial ground cover. Well-adapted to moderate coastal climates, it is sometimes used as a grass alternative, but it doesn’t tolerate foot traffic well. It propagates from seed and spreads by runners. Mowing is optional. Dichondra does well in full sunlight and partial shade. It can be difficult to establish, but very low maintenance once mature

Disease - disturbance in normal functioning and growth, usually caused by pathogenic fungi, bacteria or viruses

Distally - opposite point of attachment

Dollar spot - a fungal lawn disease that, true to its name, appears as silver-dollar-sized spots on the grass. It can attack both warm-season and cool-season grasses. Dollar spot thrives from late spring to fall, and especially loves high humidity and temperatures in the low 80s. Causes include mowing too low, lack of fertilizer, excess thatch and overwatering

Dolomitic limestone - soil amendment used to raise soil pH in overly acidic lawns. Most lawn grasses do best in slightly acidic soil, where nutrients they need stay most available. Unlike calcitic limestone, which contains calcium, dolomitic limestone contains both calcium and magnesium. Magnesium is an essential plant nutrient, but too much can harm your lawn. Use dolomitic limestone to raise pH when a soil test reveals a magnesium deficiency as well

Dormancy - state where grass remains alive but not actively growing, resting, or non-vegetative, state Turfgrass can go dormant either in summer heat or winter cold. Warm-season lawn grasses naturally go dormant and turn brown during winter months. Cool-season lawn grasses may go dormant during summer heat and drought unless they receive supplemental irrigation

Drainage - rapid removal of water by surface contouring (swales or ditches) or the installation of subsurface tile

Drought - prolonged period of dryness that may cause grass to wilt, go dormant and eventually turn brown. Without a reprieve, grasses may die. Grass varieties vary in their drought resistance and drought tolerance

Drought tolerant – the ability to endure the stresses of prolonged dry periods on a regular basis, without lasting damage. Once established in the garden or landscape, drought-tolerant plants can bounce back from lack or loss of water and return to good health


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