Dirr's Encyclopedia of Trees and Shrubs is an excellent resource...if you live in the right part of the country. I happen to live in the southwest andDirr's Encyclopedia of Trees and Shrubs is an excellent resource...if you live in the right part of the country. I happen to live in the southwest and was immediately disheartened when the first couple of trees I tried looking up in it were completely missing (e.g., mesquite and palo verde, both of which are quite common out here). I did find the third I tried, Desert Willow, so not all was lost.
Beyond the bias against southwestern trees, the book is excellent, with information on the growing habits of thousands of trees. It needs to be made clear that this book is aimed at gardening and landscaping. It is not a scientific text or a field guide. It is focused on the growth characteristics of trees you might wish to plant or cultivate.
I particularly like the special indices at the rear of the book which list plants by specific characteristics, such as flower color, fall color, time of flowering, fragrance, fruit, shade tolerance, salt tolerance, etc. ...more