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The Pruning of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers (Second Edition, revised and expanded)

By George E. Brown and Tony Kirkham

Foreword by Roy Lancaster

Quite simply, the book on pruning.

Gardening Newsletter

How, when, and where to prune? The questions that beset every gardener never change, but the solutions do. The Pruning of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers recommends the best pruning techniques and practices.

This unique encyclopedic treatment details the best pruning methods for more than 450 genera of trees, shrubs, conifers, and woody climbers. The A–Z format covers several thousand species, yet remains a manageable and practical reference. Kirkham clearly explains the reasons behind pruning techniques as well as how to apply them.

Media reviews

"Excellent updated edition full of color photos and 'how-to' drawings."

—Dale Langford, Rocky Mountain News

"Good pruning is known both as an art and a science, and this book helps the gardener accomplish both."

—Joanne S. Carpender, National Gardener

"Kirkham's revision is one the student will keep and refer to repeatedly as an easy to use reference. Well organized and lavishly illustrated."

—Linda J. Brewer, National Association of Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture Journal

"Like any good textbook, Kirkham’s revision of Brown’s 1972 text on pruning is one the student will keep and refer to repeatedly as an easy to use reference."

—Linda J. Brewer, College of Agricultural Science

"This recent edition includes all the latest in theory and technique."

—Marge Howard-Jones, California Garden

"This easy-to-use reference is more practical than ever for both professinals and amateurs."

Michigan Gardener

"George E. Brown's classic 1972 work has been extensively revised and updated by Kew expert Tony Kirkham, who describes fundamental changes in approach, such as "target" pruning, withholding wound sealant and pruning in ways that combat pests and diseases."

—Peter Surridge, Journal (Newcastle)

"This is a very useful book, especially during this season when many trees and shrubs do need pruning."

—Patricia A. Taylor, Trenton Times

"For the definitive answer on how, when and what to prune."

Daily Mirror

"First published in 1972 and now thoroughly revised and substantially expanded, this classic work continues to be trusted and respected as an essential guide to pruning, incorporating major advances in the science of arboriculture."

Best of British

"This thoughtful and timely revision ensures that a new generation of tree and shrub enthusiasts will trust and respect "George's book" as the essential pruning guide."

—Andi Clevely, Garden (Peterborough)

"The authors explain the basic principles of pruning and offer insights into why we cut trees and how to care for them, and handle specific situations such as lightning strikes, wind, cavitites and wounds, crown reduction, training and other general pruning topics."

—Joel M. Lerner, Washington Post

"This revised edition continues to be a reliable learning text for those wielding cutting tools intended to assist nature in her work."

—James H. Flynn Jr., American Reference Books Annual

"This book is masterfully written and is a 'sophisticated' treatise on an important subject."

—George Graine, Virginia Master Gardeners Association Report

"It's a classic."

—Petra McLean, Plant Master

"Contains the most current information to serve as a complete pruning guide."

Country Accents

"I can almost guarantee this volume will change your philosophy on pruning."

Heather Club of the Redwoods

"For those wondering what to do with an overgrown azalea, camellia or oak, this is the guide."

Lawrence Looks at Books

"[This] has to be the definitive guide and a must-have book for all enthusiastic gardeners and professional horticulturists."

—David Burns, Kew

"Quite simply, the book on pruning."

—John E. Bryan, Gardening Newsletter

"This new edition has been spruced up with color photographs, and it contains a good bit of current advice on the science of aboriculture. [It is] a fascinating and informative survey of the symbiotic relationship between the plants nature has but on the earth and the methods humans have developed to enhance and maintain many of these plants."

—Jean S. Wexler, Vineyard Gazette

"Thanks to the meticulous work and effort made by the author originally and in the last revision, useful information, particularly regarding each species, can be found in this book."

—Francesco Ferrini, Advances in Horticultural Science

About the authors

George E. Brown

George E. Brown (1917–1980) earned his diploma in horticulture at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. He returned to Kew in 1956 as an assistant curator. A founding member of the Arboricultural Association, he soon became a recognized authority on trees and shrubs.

Read more about George E. Brown

Tony Kirkham

Tony Kirkham is Head of the Arboretum and Horticultural Services at the Royal Botanic Garden, Kew, where he cares for the existing heritage landscape and woody plant collections and maintains the integrity and development of the living scientific plant collections. Tony lectures internationally, runs workshops and has published papers on a wide range of subjects.

Read more about Tony Kirkham

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