If there were popularity contests for plants, trees would doubtless be the winners. Of all the books on trees, the following are some of my favorites.
“Growing Trees from Seed-A Practical Guide to Growing Native Trees, Vines and Shrubs” is by Henry Kock. Published by Firefly Books, this groundbreaking guide provides all the information gardeners need on these native plants. It covers everything from the ecology of the plants to seed collecting, seed planting, and growing natives. Illustrated with color photos and line art, it profiles over 200 native species.
This title makes a valuable contribution to the natives versus invasives debate. The author explains how invasive species escape from cultivation. This title illustrates why seed-grown plants are superior to container-grown ones that are available commercially.
The author explains how to collect and clean the seeds, how to provide any required pre-treatments, how to plant the seeds, and care for the seedlings until they are large enough to survive transplanting. This also tells how to keep young seedlings safe from damping off and other potential threats. Throughout the book are side bars with additional information.
The main part of the book deals with the individual plant profiles. The profiles explore the ecology of the species, its pollination, seed dispersal methods, and seed collection recommendations. This also gives information on the growth rate and special problems associated with the seedlings.
At the end of the book are several helpful appendices. One lists the recommended seed treatments. Another is a seed dispersal calendar. There is also a list of invasive species.
“Trees and Forests of America” by Tim Palmer was released by Harry N. Abrams. An award winning photographer, he specializes in outdoor photography. He has been widely recognized for his valuable contribution to the field of conservation. These photos reveal the true beauty of these national treasures. The book covers the entire U.S., including Hawaii and Alaska. There is a map showing the location of each forest. The lush full page photos do justice to the subjects.
Destined to become a classic, this guide features 200 breathtaking photos of trees and forest scenes. The eloquent text by Palmer provides background information on all the forests and tree species.
This book is much more than just a photographic essay. It covers the botany, natural history, and story of each tree species. Readers can also learn about the individual characteristics of each forest. The final chapter is the most compelling for it highlights the loss of trees and forests due to logging and pests, such as the hemlock woolly adelgid.
“City Trees-A Historical Geography from the Renaissance through the Nineteenth Century” is by Henry W. Lawrence. This definite guide, published by the University Press of Virginia, is garden history at its best.
This compelling volume explains the various cultural roles that trees have played in city life. It covers a period of four hundred years from the 16th century to the present. There are chapters devoted to each period in European and American history. In the introduction, the author sets the stage by explaining the changes in garden design that began to occur after the medieval period. This documents how city trees, city parks, and green areas became increasingly important once the Industrial Revolution began.
The author did painstaking research for this book in which he drew on many sources, including archives and local histories. He explains how trees have shaped all aspects of city life and city planning from the political and social to the economic. He sheds light on the many roles of trees, such as their symbolic use.
The final chapter shows how the idea of urban parks and urban planning spread to other areas of the world from South America and Australia to New Zealand.