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Manual of Woody Landscape Plants: Their Identification, Ornamental Characteristics, Culture, Propagation and Uses 4th Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 194 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0875633442
ISBN-10: 0875633447
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 1007 pages
  • Publisher: Stipes Pub Llc; 4th edition (September 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0875633447
  • ISBN-13: 978-0875633442
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 8.5 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (194 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #215,540 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By James R. Mccall on November 21, 2000
Format: Paperback
About nine years ago I coughed up the (considerable) sum for the 1990 edition of this book (Dirr puts out a new edition every few years) because, upon casually perusing it, I saw that it covered some plants that I was interested in, and no other book in the store did.
Well. It languished for a while, but when I started getting interested in horticultural plantings (my own and those I encountered on my walks) I started delving into it. Before too long I found a strange thing: this book seems to know everything about horticultural trees and bushes--certainly everything that I was interested in, living first in southern Wisconsin, then northern Kentucky, and finally northern Illinois.
It finally dawned on me that this was the reference work I had always wanted. Even when I (very rarely!) thought it didn't cover a plant, it usually did anyway (perhaps making short shrift of it in a slightly different spot). As with any other great tool, learning to use it is an iterative process: the more you learn, the better you use it, and so learn yet more.
So if you are a plant person, just buy this book, rather than half-a-dozen half-baked horticultural "theme" books. You get a great reference, and as a real bonus, you get Michael Dirr's enthusiasm and planterly asides enlivening the text. (And the paperback version is also sturdy and usable.) Put it next to your dictionary, so it's within easy reach. You'll need it.
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Format: Hardcover
Regardless if you live in Key West, San Diego, Seattle, International Falls or New York City, Dirr's Manual of Woody Landscape Plants will help you select, culture and successfully grow the correct plants for your area. It is the single-greatest source of information on landscape materials I have ever seen. Thousands of varieties are also listed. For pictures, check out Dirr's Hardy Trees & Shrubs, but to get educated, you've GOT to get your hands on this one!
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Format: Paperback
I have been an avid gardner since I was a child. My garden library has grown to several hundred volumes by now, but "The Manual" is heads above all the rest. I purchased my first copy of Dr. Dirr's Manual about 10 years ago. It quickly became my favorite reference and was rarely on the bookshelf, most often it lives on my bedside table.
When the lastest edition came out I bought a hardback copy. Quite and investment, but well worth it. I had literally worn my old paperback copy out.
Dr. Dirr offers by far the most complete description of the largest number of shrubs, trees, and vines that I have ever seen in a single volume. The advice on culture and propagtion are particularly detailed and helpful, but his writing style is what really makes this book unique. At first glance The Manual appears to be a whopping and potentially dry tome, (there are no photos, but it is filled with excellent line drawings by Bonnie Dirr. I understand that a photo CD is available to accompany the Manual, but have not seen one) - but read just a few pages and you will be hooked by Dirr's style. This book reads more like a collection of humorous essays than a standard reference manual. Michael Dirr puts much of himself and his personal experience with many of these plants into every page.
Perhaps the most amazing aspect of the Manual is the number of cultivars Dr. Dirr lists and provides descriptions for under each species. You are almost sure to find a description of any variety that your local garden center carries. With each new edition Dr. Dirr does a masterful job of keeping up with all the new cultivars cropping up in our catalogs and garden centers.
The result is not only the most informative book of it's kind on the market, but a delightful read for cold winter nights. It has become the benchmark by which I judge other garden books, and probably will be for many years to come.
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Format: Paperback
I have a lot of reference books covering landscaping, plant propagation, identification, and disease problems. Dr. Dirr has done a fantastic job of compiling all of this information (and a few welcome opinions) for a couple thousand landscape plants into one consise work.
When I have a question, this book is usually my first stop. Information on common species is very comprehensive. However lesser used landscape plants are covered in an abbreviated manner, which sometimes forces me to find other resources (which are not difficult to locate thanks to the large number of cited references).
The indexes of both common and scientific names make this sizable volume easy to navigate and usable. The glossary and sections on morphology and identification are handy, espically for beginners or those of us who have been out of college for a while! Additionally, the thoughtful layout and readable type size make this manual more usable than other similar books I have encountered.
Dr. Dirr has created an excellent volume which is on my short list of horticultural reference works.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am a Master Gardener, and Certified Michigan Nurseryman, We (At our place of business) use this book as a reference manual for 90% of information in regards to trees and shrubs suitability for whatever the customers needs. It is very informative and a good investment.
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Format: Hardcover
I have every edition of this book, including the 6th edition, which I got today at the IL. Landscaping & Contractor Association (ILAC). Dr. Dirr was the main speaker and I got it signed by him as well. Did pay one third of the price Amazon is selling it for.
Anyway, if you are serious about horticulture, this is "the" book to have. I used it in the 80's in grad school and it helped me tremendously in learning the details about many plants species. Every nursery I have worked at either had the book or I had the boss buy it. I use this as my main reference guide. Detailed enough to get to know a particular species of plants. This book is excellent for the home owner who wants to know more about plants and for the expert plant user who needs detailed information of a species.

I like the way Dr. Dirr describes what he likes about certain plants. He has his own opinion.
So to all you people that work with plants........ best book you will ever buy, worth every penny.

Marc. B. Meijer
Nursery Manager
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