The Homeowner's Complete Tree & Shrub Handbook: The Essential Guide to Choosing, Planting, and Maintaining Perfect Landscape Plants

Overview

Trees and shrubs bring permanence and structure to home landscapes, adding character and beauty to the entire property. They can impart an immediate sense of geography; act as background staging for flower gardens, outdoor living spaces, and children’s play areas; and provide cool shadows and privacy from neighbors and passers-by. They are essential to every beautiful yard, yet many homeowners do not give them the attention that flowers and lawns traditionally receive.

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Overview

Trees and shrubs bring permanence and structure to home landscapes, adding character and beauty to the entire property. They can impart an immediate sense of geography; act as background staging for flower gardens, outdoor living spaces, and children’s play areas; and provide cool shadows and privacy from neighbors and passers-by. They are essential to every beautiful yard, yet many homeowners do not give them the attention that flowers and lawns traditionally receive.

Penny O’Sullivan gives trees and shrubs the respect they deserve in her lively, comprehensive book, The Homeowner’s Complete Tree & Shrub Handbook. Woody plants, she maintains, can be the heart and soul of the home landscape plan. Their contribution to the yard might include a springtime canopy of blossoms; colorful, delicious summer fruit; a regal year-round silhouette; rough and rugged bark; or seasonally changing foliage. Their presence is a soothing anchor in the ever-changing environment of a typical yard.

In three sections — design, plant profiles, and care — this handbook covers every essential consideration of tree and shrub gardening. After an introduction to the principles of garden design, O’Sullivan guides readers through tree and shrub selection, with special considerations for owner expectations and growing conditions.

The heart of the book is the extensive encyclopedia of hundreds of tree and shrub portraits. Each profile covers ease of cultivation, availability, history, hardiness, size, growth rate, and special characteristics. O’Sullivan also includes warnings about plants not to grow, such as invasive exotics and disease-prone trees and shrubs.

The final section covers care and maintenance, with thorough advice on buying and planting; siting; pruning; fertilizing; and coping with diseases, pests, and environmental problems.

Adding trees and shrubs to a home landscape can be an expensive proposition. To make their purchases and protect their investment, homeowners will constantly refer to this book for O'Sullivan’s wise advice.

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Editorial Reviews

Garden Design Online
It's always hard to find exactly what you want in plant identification books. Not enough detailed photos, no mention of common problems, not enough emphasis on the best cultivars or plant sizes. The Homeowner's Complete Tree & Shrub Handbook: The Essential Guide to Choosing, Planting, and Maintaining Perfect Landscape Plants by Penelope O'Sullivan (Storey Publishing, 2007) solves a lot of those problems. The introductory section discusses how to use plants in the landscape, then moves on to choosing the right plant for the right place, with excellent lists of trees and shrubs for sun & shade, wet & dry soils, etc. In addition, the author has lists you seldom see elsewhere: top choices for standout barks, colorful evergreens, unusual textures, striking silhoutettes.

Another section on plant care covers major diseases, pollution-tolerant plants and also planting, pruning, and rejuvenating shrubs. Each entry in the A to Z list of trees and shrubs has a general plant description, an excellent section on landscape use, followed by "Designer's Choice" — a listing of the best cultivars on the market. Photographs by Karen Bussolini would be quite helpful in identification.

Garden Design Online

It's always hard to find exactly what you want in plant identification books. Not enough detailed photos, no mention of common problems, not enough emphasis on the best cultivars or plant sizes. The Homeowner's Complete Tree & Shrub Handbook: The Essential Guide to Choosing, Planting, and Maintaining Perfect Landscape Plants by Penelope O'Sullivan (Storey Publishing, 2007) solves a lot of those problems. The introductory section discusses how to use plants in the landscape, then moves on to choosing the right plant for the right place, with excellent lists of trees and shrubs for sun & shade, wet & dry soils, etc. In addition, the author has lists you seldom see elsewhere: top choices for standout barks, colorful evergreens, unusual textures, striking silhoutettes.

Another section on plant care covers major diseases, pollution-tolerant plants and also planting, pruning, and rejuvenating shrubs. Each entry in the A to Z list of trees and shrubs has a general plant description, an excellent section on landscape use, followed by "Designer's Choice" -- a listing of the best cultivars on the market. Photographs by Karen Bussolini would be quite helpful in identification.

From the Publisher
It's always hard to find exactly what you want in plant identification books. Not enough detailed photos, no mention of common problems, not enough emphasis on the best cultivars or plant sizes.  The Homeowner's Complete Tree & Shrub Handbook: The Essential Guide to Choosing, Planting, and Maintaining Perfect Landscape Plants by Penelope O'Sullivan (Storey Publishing, 2007) solves a lot of those problems.  The introductory section discusses how to use plants in the landscape, then moves on to choosing the right plant for the right place, with excellent lists of trees and shrubs for sun & shade, wet & dry soils, etc.  In addition, the author has lists you seldom see elsewhere: top choices for standout barks, colorful evergreens, unusual textures, striking silhoutettes.

Another section on plant care covers major diseases, pollution-tolerant plants and also planting, pruning, and rejuvenating shrubs. Each entry in the A to Z list of trees and shrubs has a general plant description, an excellent section on landscape use, followed by "Designer's Choice" — a listing of the best cultivars on the market. Photographs by Karen Bussolini would be quite helpful in identification.

“A LANDSCAPER'S ENCYCLOPEDIA. Here's the big, thick book on everything you want to know about trees and shrubs.”

St. Petersburg Times

“Most gardeners are practical people who need a lot of information on a lot of issues. That’s why I really like this down-to-earth 416-page rundown on the ambitious topic of trees and shrubs.”

Harrisburg Patriot-News

“The real jewel of this volume is the extensive A-Z directory of nearly 350 trees and shrubs, many offering more than on season of interest. There is even a handy pronunciation guide for every plant name.”

Library Journal

“This book looks great, a true encyclopedia on trees and shrubs and how to select and care for them.”

The Journal-News

“…an all-inclusive guide to choosing, planting, and caring for these wonderful woody plants.”

The Journal Inquirer (Manchester, Conn.)

“This handbook is a source of inspiration and seasoned advice for making sound choices from the start and maintaining your plants as they develop and grow.”

Lexington Herald-Leader

“One problem with garden books that try to say too much about everything is that they often end up saying too little about anything. Happily, this is not the case with The Homeowner’s Complete Tree & Shrub Handbook by garden designer and author Penelope O’Sullivan.”

The American Gardener

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781580175708
  • Publisher: Storey Books
  • Publication date: 10/31/2007
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Pages: 408
  • Sales rank: 612,984
  • Product dimensions: 8.52 (w) x 10.84 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Karen Bussolini is an active member of the Garden Writers Association, where she has given presentations like "The Unsung Season: Gardens in Winter" and "Learning from our Mistakes," which is a primer on garden photography. Karen frequently contributes articles and photographs to Garden Design, where they most recently published her stunning and masterful "Movin' Out," a story about Jennifer Myers's garden in Austinm Texas.

Penelope O’Sullivan is the author of numerous gardening books and contributor to many magazines, including Country Gardens, Country Home, Traditional Home, and several Better Homes and Gardens special interest publications. She has a garden design business in New Hampshire.

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2009

    a good addition if you are just starting out

    this book is a great book if you have little or no previous knowledge of trees and shrubs. it does not get too deep into specifics but is more than enough information if all you use it for is deciding if you should plant it in the sun or shade. good for beginners, not enough for professionals.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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