Dirr's Encyclopedia of Trees and Shrubs
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Dirr's Encyclopedia of Trees and Shrubs

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by Michael A. Dirr
     
 

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3500 photographs. Over 380 genera. More than 3700 species and cultivars.

With Dirr's Hardy Trees and Shrubs and Dirr's Trees and Shrubs for Warm Climates, Michael Dirr set the gold standard for horticultural reference. This season, Timber Press is proud to publish his seminal work, Dirr's Encyclopedia of Trees and

Overview

3500 photographs. Over 380 genera. More than 3700 species and cultivars.

With Dirr's Hardy Trees and Shrubs and Dirr's Trees and Shrubs for Warm Climates, Michael Dirr set the gold standard for horticultural reference. This season, Timber Press is proud to publish his seminal work, Dirr's Encyclopedia of Trees and Shrubs, the most comprehensive visual reference on this important subject. From majestic evergreens to delicate vines and flowering shrubs, Dirr features thousands of plants and all the essential details for identification, planting, and care, plus full-color photographs showing a tree's habit in winter, distinctive bark patterns, fall color, and more. In a class by itself for its quality of information, the best researched recommendations for hardiness in the industry, beautiful photography, and Dirr's own preeminence as a master plantsman, Dirr's Encyclopedia of Trees and Shrubs is a critical addition to any garden library.

Editorial Reviews

Working Mom's Garden Blog
“Excellent and thorough coverage… I would recommend this book to any gardener seeking a definitive book on woody landscape plants for North America.”
— Jessie Keith
Booklist
The world of trees and shrubs is dealt with as thoroughly as anyone has done it before.
Better Homes and Gardens
“Long regarded as the nation’s foremost expert on trees and shrubs, Dr. Dirr… draws on his encyclopedic knowledge and years of personal experience with trees and shrubs.”
GeorgeWeigel.net
“For obsessed plant geeks, this 8-pound tome gives renowned Prof. Michael Dirr’s rundown on just about every woody plant you’d ever want to grow (and lots you wouldn’t.) It’s got color photos, too.”
— George Weigel
Garden Design Online
“Whether you're a landscape designer or architect or just a garden enthusiast, you can't do without either of these (Dirr’s Encyclopedia of Trees & Shrubs and the Manual of Woody Landscape Plants) books. The new Dirr Encyclopedia is a sheer delight, and way too long in coming!”
— Jane Berger
GardenRant - Erica Glasener
“If you're the type of gardener who likes to settle in with big, fat reads over the winter, Dirr's 8-pound (I weighed it) "Encyclopedia of Trees & Shrubs" (Timber Press) could keep you occupied until April.”
PAllenSmith.com
“His book Manual of Woody Landscape Plants has been a go to reference around the office years so we're excited about his latest book.”
— P Allen Smith
GreenProfit Buzz
“A new gold-standard.… [R]efreshingly readable and personable for a reference manual. This book will be your personal Dr. Dirr ready and willing to advise you and your customers on the right plant for the right purpose.”
— Ellen Wells
OC Register
“If you're the type of gardener who likes to settle in with big, fat reads over the winter, Dirr's 8-pound (I weighed it) "Encyclopedia of Trees & Shrubs" (Timber Press) could keep you occupied until April.”
— Cindy McNatt
EricaGlasener.com
“…[H]e grows or has grown many of the plants he writes about. Fortunately for the rest of us, his passion for plants continues and this book is bound to gain him even more fans.”
— Erica Glasener
GardenRant
“Professor Michael A. Dirr is THE MAN when it comes to woody plants. And I agree –‘smart, opinionated, comprehensive, wonderful’ - all true!”
— Susan Harris
Upstate Gardeners' Journal
“A gorgeous updated version of the classic. Do you need it? Yes!”
— Jane Millman
Nursery Management Magazine
“Michael A. Dirr does not disappoint."
The Washington Post
“Dirr has guided discerning gardeners for decades -- he has made the American landscape a better place.”
— Adrian Higgins
AWayToGarden.com
“The man we have all relied on for decades outdoes even himself in sussing out the woody-plant picture today.”
— Margaret Roach
Cuttings
"More like an arboreal expose than an encyclopedia, everyone who has something woody in their life needs to own a copy of this book…Dirr’s Hardy Trees and Shrubs helps us separate the dynamos from the dregs"
The American Gardener
“This is likely to become a standard reference for including trees and shrubs in gardens of all types. Highly recommended.”
The Oregonian
"More like an arboreal expose than an encyclopedia, everyone who has something woody in their life needs to own a copy of this book…Dirr’s Hardy Trees and Shrubs helps us separate the dynamos from the dregs"
Smith Mountain Laker Magazine
“Dirr’s frank and often witty assessments make his works all the more special, unique, and fun to read.”
Tri-Valley Herald
"This is an important and valuable book, truly Michael Dirr's magnum opus, and well worth the price."
Country Gardens
"Dirr... fills the text with fascinating information for the gardener, landscape architect, and all those curious about the trees and shrubs they may encounter."
GreenProfit Buzz - P Allen Smith
“Seasoned gardeners, landscape professionals including nursery and garden center personnel, designers, architects and enthusiastic beginners need look no further.”

OC Register - Ellen Wells
“His book Manual of Woody Landscape Plants has been a go to reference around the office years so we're excited about his latest book.”
EricaGlasener.com - Cindy McNatt
“A new gold-standard.… [R]efreshingly readable and personable for a reference manual. This book will be your personal Dr. Dirr ready and willing to advise you and your customers on the right plant for the right purpose.”
Upstate Gardeners' Journal - Susan Harris
“…[H]e grows or has grown many of the plants he writes about. Fortunately for the rest of us, his passion for plants continues and this book is bound to gain him even more fans.”
Working Mom's Garden Blog - Jane Millman
“Professor Michael A. Dirr is THE MAN when it comes to woody plants. And I agree –‘smart, opinionated, comprehensive, wonderful’ - all true!”
Nursery Management Magazine - Jessie Keith
“A gorgeous updated version of the classic. Do you need it? Yes!”
The Washington Post - Adrian Higgins
“Excellent and thorough coverage… I would recommend this book to any gardener seeking a definitive book on woody landscape plants for North America.”
AWayToGarden.com - Margaret Roach
“Michael A. Dirr does not disappoint."
Booklist - George Weigel
“Dirr has guided discerning gardeners for decades — he has made the American landscape a better place.”
Better Homes and Gardens - Jane Berger
“The man we have all relied on for decades outdoes even himself in sussing out the woody-plant picture today.”
GeorgeWeigel.net - James B. Calkins
“Dirr has added another well-written and slickly produced book to his volumes on plants used in ornamental horticulture. Educational as well as inspirational…this is likely to become a standard reference for including trees and shrubs in gardens of all types.”
Garden Design Online - Catriona Tudor Erler
“Long regarded as the nation’s foremost expert on trees and shrubs, Dr. Dirr… draws on his encyclopedic knowledge and years of personal experience with trees and shrubs.”
Booklist - Linda Scarth
“For obsessed plant geeks, this 8-pound tome gives renowned Prof. Michael Dirr’s rundown on just about every woody plant you’d ever want to grow (and lots you wouldn’t.) It’s got color photos, too.”
Cuttings - Barbara Mahany
“Whether you're a landscape designer or architect or just a garden enthusiast, you can't do without either of these (Dirr’s Encyclopedia of Trees & Shrubs and the Manual of Woody Landscape Plants) books. The new Dirr Encyclopedia is a sheer delight, and way too long in coming!”
From the Publisher
“Dirr has guided discerning gardeners for decades—he has made the American landscape a better place.” —The Washington Post

“Belongs on every serious gardener’s shelf. . . . This is a new, spruced-up edition of the bible of the industry, with a cleaner design, wipeable cover, newly introduced plants and changes in plant names. Just in time for a new generation of gardeners, Dirr’s encyclopedia is as charming as it is refined.” —The New York Times

“Dirr has added another well-written and slickly produced book to his volumes on plants used in ornamental horticulture. Educational as well as inspirational. . . . this is likely to become a standard reference for including trees and shrubs in gardens of all types.” —Booklist starred review

“Dirr has been growing and breeding plants for years and has experience with all the plants in this book. . . . There are 15 special topic listings—by flower color, flowering sequence, fall color, winter interest, salt or shade tolerance, moisture requirements, and plant form—which will help gardeners choose plants, as well as indexes of botanical and common names.”  —Library Journal

“Michael Dirr’s hefty Dirr’s Encyclopedia of Trees and Shrubs belongs next to the American Horticultural Society’s A to Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants on your shelf of essential garden books. It is packed with information, features more than 3500 photographs for identification, and is written with wit and charm.” —MarthaStewart.com

“For any serious gardener, the expense of this book will be repaid many times over in the valuable advice and information it will impart, page by page and pound by pound.” —Country Gardens

“Dirr’s frank and often witty assessments make his works all the more special, unique, and fun to read.” —American Gardener

“Long regarded as the nation’s foremost expert on trees and shrubs, Dr. Dirr has published a new book that, like his previous Manual of Woody Landscape Plants, draws on his encyclopedic knowledge and years of personal experience with trees and shrubs. However, the new book, Dirr’s Encyclopedia of Trees and Shrubs, adds thousands of photos to the mix, too.” —Better Homes and Gardens

“Professor Michael A. Dirr is THE MAN when it comes to woody plants.” —Garden Rant

“Sure to be one of the basic books for a serious gardener. It’s a user-friendly, photo packed distillation of the knowledge and informed opinion that make Dirr’s text packed ‘Manual of Woody Landscape Plants’ scripture in the landscape profession.” —Chicago Tribune

“Meriting the terms classic, authoritative, gold-standard, this reference updates and combines in one binding two previously published books: Dirr’s Hardy Trees and Shrubs and Dirr’s Trees and Shrubs for Warm Climates. Several thousand photos of excellent quality and consistency support graceful, well-informed text.” —Reference and Research Book News

“Whether you’re a landscape designer or architect or just a garden enthusiast, you can’t do without either of these (Dirr’s Encyclopedia of Trees and Shrubs and the Manual of Woody Landscape Plants) books. The new Dirr Encyclopedia is a sheer delight, and way too long in coming!” —Garden Design Online

Library Journal
Dirr (horticulture, Univ. of Georgia) has been growing and breeding plants for years and has experience with all the plants in this book. This large volume combines Dirr's Hardy Trees and Shrubs (1997) and Dirr's Trees and Shrubs for Warm Climates (2002), both considered authoritative volumes, and offers new entries on plants that have been developed in the last 10 to 15 years. The bulk of the book is the A-to-Z listing of plants by their botanical names, with short annotations and over 3500 color photos, including close-ups of flowers, leaves, and other parts of interest as well as full-plant views. There are 15 special topic listings—by flower color, flowering sequence, fall color, winter interest, salt or shade tolerance, moisture requirements, and plant form—which will help gardeners choose plants, as well as indexes of botanical and common names. BOTTOM LINE This book is a good reference for home gardeners, but the descriptions and photographs are not concise enough for botanists and have limited use for plant identification. This is not a necessary purchase for libraries that own the older volumes, unless they wish to provide for avid gardeners interested in new varieties or those who enjoy Dirr's personal observations.—Margaret Henderson, Virginia Commonwealth Univ. Lib., Richmond
Dominique Browning
The book that belongs on every serious gardener's shelf…Michael A. Dirr's encyclopedia is as charming as it is refined. Even the captions are full of personality.
—The New York Times Book Review

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780881929010
Publisher:
Timber Press, Incorporated
Publication date:
10/18/2011
Pages:
952
Sales rank:
101,998
Product dimensions:
8.80(w) x 11.60(h) x 2.10(d)

Read an Excerpt

Introduction
Timber Press and I have developed a symbiotic relationship in our quest/journey to produce worthy books that gardeners would embrace and enjoy. Dirr’s Hardy Trees and Shrubs (1997), Dirr’s Trees and Shrubs for Warm Climates (2002), Hydrangeas for American Gardens (2004), and Viburnums (2006) have found niches in the garden and nursery circles. This encyclopedia builds on the foundations of the Hardy and Warm Climate books, with more than 3,500 photographs of species and cultivars in 380 genera, with an emphasis on the best new introductions of the past ten to 15 years.

The garden and nursery worlds have changed dramatically in that time. Independent garden centers have waned, while Home Depot, Lowe’s, Wal-Mart, and other mega-chains command greater percentages of green good sales. Be advised that the mass merchandisers are actively pursuing new plants to entice customers. Reflecting these advances are the increases in plant patents, which allow the owner to control the licensing of the product. In 1996 (66 years after the Plant Patent Act was instituted), approximately 10,000 plant patents were granted; in 2010, the number was over 21,000. This increase reflects the desire of breeders and introducers to protect their intellectual property. Also, many plants are not patented, but introduced for the greater good. The new plant tsunami literally swamps horticulturists’ and gardeners’ will and ability to stay current.

The rush to market is based on competition among breeders and introducers who have similar plants. The financial advantage is often weighted toward the first mover. Testing and trialing for many woody plants are minimal, and marketing supersedes the reality of performance. In this tome, I provide the best assessment possible based on testing data, research reports, performance in nurseries and gardens, and evaluations at our breeding company in Watkinsville, Georgia, Plant Introductions, Inc. (www.plantintroductions.com).
 
Take variegated leaf cultivars of Abelia ×grandiflora, now numbering about 17. Many are unstable, producing green, albino, and other shoot permutations not typical of the original cultivars. I have bred, evaluated, tested, trialed, selected, grown, and introduced abelias, and ‘Hopleys’ (‘Aghop’), rebranded Twist of Lime™, has been one of the most stable, consistently true to type. Does this mean that someone else could have a different experience? Absolutely!
            Cross-referencing the Hydrangea paniculata cultivar trials at the Royal Horticultural Society (www.rhs.org.uk) with my Georgia evaluations reflects dichotomies of results. For example, RHS Trials Bulletin 23 (December 2008) evaluated more than half of the more than 80 known cultivars. Best (three stars) were ‘Big Ben’ (lousy in Georgia), ‘Dolly’ (lousy in Georgia), ‘Kyushu’ (lousy in Georgia), Limelight™ (very good in Georgia), Pinky Winky™ (poor in Georgia), and so forth. The take-home lesson: biology is shades of gray, and dogmatic acceptance of anyone’s results is foolish. Use these data as guides to the superior introductions.

“Show me your garden and I shall tell you what you are.” This Alfred Austin quote captures Bonnie’s and my love of garden-making. As an introduction to the Warm Climate book, I textually and photographically walked the reader through our then 23-year-old garden, and many readers commented positively about “seeing” it.

Unfortunately, the home and garden in the 2002 book are no more, as we sold and moved to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, for medical reasons, to care for our youngest daughter, Suzanne. After existing in an apartment for six months (no garden), we decided to purchase a home, develop a garden, and live a normal life. The landscape (initially with bargain-basement butterflybushes, abelias, and Indian hawthorns—all eliminated) was transformed into a garden with color, fragrance, diversity, and seasonality. In part, it was also a test site for many new plants from our breeding program and those of colleagues.
 
The neighbors noticed, commented, queried about the roses (Knock Out®), dwarf crapemyrtles (Razzle Dazzle® series), and lantanas (Chapel Hill series), and others. With delight, I watched Knock Out® move around the cul-de-sac and throughout the neighborhood.

This garden was spiritually and psychologically essential to Bonnie’s, my, and Susy’s well-being. Susy, who carried the gene for cystic fibrosis, was blessed to have two double-lung transplants at UNC-CH and live a rich, full, vibrant, and meaningful life. We lost our beloved Susy to chronic rejection in January 2008.

Books are written on dealing with grief, but Bonnie and I find inner peace with each other and in the garden. Bonnie stated it best—there is joy in nurturing and loving living things to their greatest genetic potential. We sold our place in Chapel Hill and returned to Athens, where in 2009 we purchased a new home on an acre and started the garden journey anew. Realizing that planting space was being rapidly consumed, we purchased the contiguous lot as well. It was choked with Chinese privet (Ligustrum sinense), kudzu (Pueraria montana var. lobata), and muscadine (Vitis rotundifolia), all quickly cleared; a specimen white oak (Quercus alba), a 50-ft.-high, four-trunked black tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica), and flowering dogwood (Cornus florida) were preserved. We are enjoying pencil farming this and the home site, dreaming about what may metamorphosize.
 
In autumn 2010, we planted a sinuous shrub border that effectively screens the new lot from the street. Neighbors commented and asked about the identity of the plants. I mentioned that 14 different viburnums were utilized. They were mystified for, in the South, “viburnum” simply does not resonate. Hopefully, they will enjoy and learn as the border matures.

Plant Introductions, Inc., continues to develop. My two partners are Jeff Beasley of Transplant Nursery in Lavonia, Georgia, and Mark Griffith, Griffith Propagation Nursery, also in Watkinsville. Together we bring a total of 80 years’ experience to the venture—breeding, evaluating, propagating, producing, and marketing new woody (and a few herbaceous) garden plants. Most new introductions are presented in this work. We started with a dream, planned and strategized, leased/purchased a dilapidated pig (yes) farm, cleaned (spit-polished), built growing and greenhouse facilities, and four years later have 40 plants in various stages of evaluation. Our breeder, Josh Kardos, Ph.D., a University of Georgia horticulture graduate, is the epicenter of the company.

As you, the reader, peruse the book, please take special note of genera emphasized in PII’s breeding: Abelia, Berberis, Buddleia, Clethra, Cryptomeria, Distylium, Gardenia, Hydrangea, Hypericum, Illicium, Lagerstroemia, Lantana, Loropetalum, Punica, Quercus, Ulmus, and Viburnum. The ultimate goal is to breed superior ornamental plants that perform as promised (Promised Performance™) for growers, retailers, and gardeners.

May the book provide inspiration and education, and guide you to the best of the new (and perpetually reliable) woody garden plants.
 
Michael A. Dirr, Ph.D.
 

Meet the Author

Michael A. Dirr is widely acknowledged as the leading expert on trees and shrubs for landscapes and gardens. During his nearly three decades as a professor of horticulture at the University of Georgia, he received the highest honors from the American Horticulture Society, the Garden Club of America, and the American Society for Horticultural Science, among others. Dirr currently is a partner in Plant Introductions, Inc., and has introduced many trees, shrubs, and vines throughout his career. He is the author of Viburnums, Hydrangeas for American Gardens, and The Reference Manual of Woody Plant Propagation, all from Timber Press.
 

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Dirr's Encyclopedia of Trees and Shrubs 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am in college getting a degree in Horticulture. I bought this book for one of my classes. It is awesome ! Over 900 pages of trees and shrubs with pictures for identification. A must have for anyone who loves plants.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago