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Posted July 12, 2009
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This is a good book for a new gardener and aspiring landscape designer. I'm a new homeowner in a 100-year old Minneapolis neighborhood, with a house that underwent major renovations 4 years ago. I knew almost nothing about my mature trees and newish shrubs, except that I had a lot of wonderful, shady mature maples (and lots of helicopter seeds). I've read this book nearly cover-to-cover, learning about how to prune (or not to prune) and how often to water each different shrub and tree I have. The colorful pictures are highly helpful, and the book felt "comfortable" for me: its size was great for transporting, and it gave me the right amount of information for me. If I get excited to learn more about my trees, I think there are other heftier & pricier books available on Minnesotan trees & shrubs that provide greater detail.
This book has been integral in helping us pick replacements for one of our distressed maples. The authors clearly outline the important factors in selection, such as size, form, light, soil conditions, wind-exposure, salt-tolerance, evergreen vs. deciduous, and canopy density. We figured that we would take our time to select the right tree for our situation: it would give us western (afternoon-evening) shade for our backyard and enhance our scenery for decades to come.
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