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Dirr's Encyclopedia of Trees and Shrubs

By Michael A. Dirr

Belongs on every serious gardener's shelf ... Dirr's encyclopedia is as charming as it is refined.

New York Times

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. Now these two classic and bestselling books are under one cover, fully updated with hundreds of new plants, photographs, and commentary in Dirr's signature style. This is his most comprehensive visual reference yet.

From majestic evergreens to delicate vines and flowering shrubs, Dirr features thousands of plants with 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.

Media reviews

"Dirr's frank and often witty assessments make his works all the more special, unique, and fun to read."

—James B. Calkins, American Gardener

"A user-friendly, photo-packed distillation of knowledge makes [this book] scripture in the landscape profession."

Hartford Courant

"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."

—Beth Botts, Chicago Tribune

"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."


"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."

Better Homes and Gardens

"Everything you will ever need or want to know about the ... beauties in your own yard ... is here."

—Barbara Mahany, Tri-Valley Herald

"An important and valuable book, truly Michael Dirr's magnum opus, and well worth the price."

—Catriona Tudor Erler, Smith Mountain Laker

"The world of trees and shrubs is dealt with as thoroughly as anyone has done it before."


"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, Garden Design Online

"A new gold-standard. ... Refreshingly 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, GreenProfit Buzz

"Michael A. Dirr does not disappoint."

Nursery Management Magazine

"A gorgeous updated version of the classic. Do you need it? Yes!"

—Jane Millman, Upstate Gardeners' Journal

"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, Working Mom's Garden Blog

"A good reference for home gardeners."

Virginia Commonwealth University Library

"Dirr ... fills the text with fascinating information for the gardener, landscape architect, and all those curious about the trees and shrubs they may encounter."

—Linda Scarth, Booklist

"This is likely to become a standard reference for including trees and shrubs in gardens of all types. Highly recommended."


"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."

New York Times

"Dirr has guided discerning gardeners for decades — he has made the American landscape a better place."

—Adrian Higgins, Washington Post

"Professor Michael A. Dirr is The Man when it comes to woody plants ... Smart, opinionated, comprehensive, wonderful."

—Susan Harris, GardenRant

"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

"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."


"A good reference for home gardeners."

Library Journal

"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, GeorgeWeigel.net

"[Dirr's] Manual of Woody Landscape Plants has been a go-to reference around the office for years so we're excited about his latest book."

—P. Allen Smith, PAllenSmith.com

"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 could keep you occupied until April."

—Cindy McNatt, OC Register

"Seasoned gardeners, landscape professionals including nursery and garden center personnel, designers, architects, and enthusiastic beginners need look no further. ... [Dirr] 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, EricaGlasener.com

"The man we have all relied on for decades outdoes even himself in sussing out the woody-plant picture today."

—Margaret Roach, AWayToGarden.com

About the author

Michael A. Dirr

Michael A. Dirr, professor emeritus, horticulture, University of Georgia, is widely acknowledged as one of the leading experts on trees and shrubs for landscapes and gardens. He holds BS and MS degrees in horticulture from The Ohio State University and the Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts. Dirr has introduced over 200 woody plants to cultivation and holds 29 patents with the UGA Research Foundation. With two partners, he established Plant Introductions, Inc., a breeding and introduction company in 2006, selling it to Bailey Nurseries in 2015. Dirr continues to work in lockstep with the American nursery industry to introduce and promote new trees and shrubs.

Read more about Michael A. Dirr

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