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Acid
Condition measured as less than 7 on the pH scale, which indicates the concentration of hydrogen ions.

Aerate
Introduce air into a material, such as soil.

Alkaline
Condition measured as more than 7 on the pH scale, which indicates the concentration of hydrogen ions.

Annual
Plant that completes its life cycle from seed to flower to seed within a single growing season.  Its stems, leaves, and roots die annually.

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Compost
Mixture of decayed and decaying organic matter, which not only provides a steady, balanced source of nutrients to plants but also builds soil structure.

Ecoregion
Large area that includes generally similar ecosystems and has similar types, qualities, and quantities of environmental resources, such as the New Jersey Pinelands.  An ecoregion is determined by examining patterns of vegetation, animal life, geology, soils, water quality, climate, human land use, and other ecosystem components.

Ecosystem
Natural system consisting of all the living organisms in an area interacting with each other and with the non-living environmental components, such as climate and soil type.

Eutrophication
Process caused by an increase in organic matter in a water body from excessive plant growth. Eutrophication leads to a decline in the health of a water body.

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Fern
Flowerless plant that has feathery or leafy fronds and reproduces by spores, typically produced on the undersides of the fronds.

Fertilizer
Substance which contains one or more recognized plant nutrients and claims to promote plant growth.

Foliage
Leafy parts of a tree or other plant.

Grass
Monocotyledonous (monocotyledons have one leaf within the seed and flower petals in multiples of three) flowering plant with narrow leaves growing from the base. This plant type includes true grasses, rushes, and sedges.

Groundcover
Low-growing plant (either woody or herbaceous) that provides soil cover and helps to prevent soil erosion and weed growth.

Groundwater
Water stored underground in rock crevices and in the pores of geologic materials that make up the Earth’s crust.

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Herbaceous
Refers to a plant with a non-woody stem that dies back at the end of the growing season.

Impervious Surface
Type of surface that does not allow water to pass through, such as roads, driveways, parking lots, and rooftops.

Infiltration
Process by which water on the ground surface enters the soil.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
Environmentally friendly method of pest control that emphasizes early detection and prevention and uses a combination of control practices linked together to manage pest problems.

Invasive Plant
Non-native plant which is causing harm to the environment, human health, or the economy.

Irrigation
Application of water to land by artificial means to sustain plant growth.

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Leaching
Movement of water and the substances dissolved in the water (such as fertilizer) downward through the soil and away from the target area.

Mulch
Material spread on the ground around a plant to suppress weeds, conserve soil moisture, prevent soil erosion, and moderate soil temperatures.

Mulching mower
Type of mower that leaves finely cut grass clippings on the lawn.  The clippings function as an organic lawn fertilizer, providing as much as one-half of the nitrogen required for a healthy lawn.

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Native Plant
Plant that occurs naturally in a particular region, ecosystem, or habitat without direct or indirect human intervention.

Nitrogen
Chemical element (atomic number 7) important as a nutrient for the healthy growth of plants.  Different chemical and physical forms of nitrogen are used in fertilizers.

Non-Native Plant
Plant that does not occur naturally in a particular region or ecosystem, but has been introduced with human help, either intentionally or accidentally, to a new area or new type of habitat.

Nonpoint Source Pollution
Pollution coming from multiple sources over a relatively large area, such as fertilizer from many yards.

Nutrient
Substance that provides nourishment essential for the growth of and maintenance of life.

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Organic
Containing carbon compounds formed by living organisms.

Perennial
Plant that lives for more than two years.  Herbaceous perennials die back at the end of each growing season and re-emerge each spring from the root stock.

Pesticide
Chemical or other substance used to prevent, destroy, or repel a pest. Pests can be insects, weeds, fungi, mice and other animals, or microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses.

Phosphorus
Chemical element (atomic number 15) important as a nutrient for the healthy growth of plants.  Phosphorus in the form of phosphates is used in fertilizers.

Point Source Pollution
Pollution coming from a single point, such as a sewage-outflow pipe.

Pollination
Process by which pollen is transferred from a male part (anther) of a flower to a female part (stigma) of the same flower or a different one, thereby enabling fertilization and reproduction.

Porous (Permeable) Pavement
Pavement which permits stormwater to pass through the surface and into the soil below.

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Rain Barrel
Container that collects and stores rainwater draining from the roof.

Rain Garden
Shallow, planted depression that captures, filters, and infiltrates stormwater runoff.

Runoff
Water which flows downhill over the ground and into waterways.  Runoff can carry pollutants like lawn chemicals, oil, and pet waste from the land surface.

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Shrub
Perennial, multi-stemmed woody plant usually less than13 feet tall and with stems usually no more than about three inches in diameter.

Slow-release Nitrogen
Form of nitrogen that is released over time and is not water soluble.

Soil
Combination of minerals weathered from rock, organic matter, water, and air. All living things depend on healthy soil.

Soil pH
Measurement of the acidity or alkalinity of the soil.  The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14. A pH of 7 is neutral, a pH less than 7 is acidic, and a pH greater than 7 is basic. Soil pH is important because it affects the availability of nutrients to the plants and the activity of soil microorganisms beneficial to plants.

Species
Group of living organisms consisting of similar individuals capable of interbreeding.

Stormwater
Water from rain or snowmelt that flows across land and/or impervious surfaces.

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Tree
Perennial woody plant with a single stem (trunk), definitely formed crown of foliage, and mature height greater than 13 feet.

Vine
Twining or climbing plant with relatively long stems.  It can be either woody or herbaceous.

Watershed
Area of land where gravity direct all the water draining from the ground into the same water body.

Weed
Plant growing where it is not wanted and potentially competing with other plants for water, nutrients, and sunlight.

Wetland
Land where saturation with water is the dominant factor determining the characteristics of the soil and the types of plant and animal communities living there.  A coastal salt marsh is one example of a wetland.

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