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Roots Demystified: Change Your Gardening Habits to Help Roots Thrive Paperback – November 15, 2007

4.7 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Kourik's color photos and Massion's art effectively illustrate a text that fulfills the title's promise. The author's advice is sound and practical although the reader may bridle at his tone at times. (Attempting a chatty informality, for example, he orders one to "find a comfortable chair and leaf through the book.") Otherwise, this is a valuable guide to the holistic approach to gardening, which relies on natural fertilizers and avoids chemicals. The author begins with suggestions for designing plots according to environment, space available, personal preferences. (The pictures prove that areas featuring vegetables, herbs, fruit- and nut-bearing trees and other edibles can be beautiful.) Kourik, who frequently appears on TV and lectures nationally, includes recipes that use the wide variety of foods featured here.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Kourik espouses organic gardening methods to create beautiful edible landscapes that are compatible with other plantings as well as with the climate, terrain, and the owner's budget. Expanding upon Rosalind Creasy's The Complete Book of Edible Landscaping ( LJ 5/1/82) he makes this gardening fashion seem not only reasonable but easy. From design basics to how to grow specific vegetables, fruits, herbs, he describes his methods and theories and adds lists of books for further reference. Appendixes are voluminous and cover some unusual aids (e.g., estimating amounts of materials needed for landscaping projects). A useful addition. Louise B. Hodges, Amherst County P.L., Va.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Metamorphic Press (November 15, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0961584831
  • ISBN-13: 978-0961584832
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.4 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #295,430 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This insightful and instructive book is full of surprising information--it's incredibly useful. Understanding how roots grow is key to successful gardening, and a lot of what I thought I knew about them (such as that most of a tree's roots lie below its canopy) was wrong. Kourik debunks a lot of myths, and his clear, easy to read text is loaded with interesting bits of information on growing all sorts of plants. This book is a valuable addition to my library, and I'll consult it often. I'm a lifelong gardener, and I learned a lot!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Roots Demystified: Change Your Gardening Habits to Help Roots Thrive, by Robert Kourik.

A good introductory book to the growth of tree, shrub, and plant roots. Has some material on other things that grow in the soil that interact with roots, and some basic soil science, including a brief chapter on fungus and symbiotic relationships. There are sections on vegetables, shrubs, and trees, how their roots grow and differ, with good planting and care advice. If you have other books with sections on roots, there is little new here. If not, it is a good book to start with. It has a good reference section of current books that we can actually purchase or borrow.

I have read the book, and thumbed through it several times more, and I am still not sure what the author's recommendation for changing my gardening habits to is, there does not seem to be a conclusion or summary. I think, I may be wrong, that he recommends double digging if the soil is poor or compacted, then move on to compost, mulch, and shallow tilling only.

The book is recommended by John Jevons, the "Grow Biointensive" double digging proponent, and it often mentions Ruth Stout, the no dig no work gardening advocate of thick mulching. He draws on the work of John Weaver in the 1920's and 30's, which is good, as Weaver's books are not readily available.

All in all a good book, easy to read presented with a dry sense of humor, solid information, a book I may go back to read again for inspiration, and a bit of reference.
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Format: Paperback
"Roots Demystified" is a great read, which you wouldn't expect from a gardening/horticultural book about roots. Kourik gives amazing information that I'd never heard before, lining up his drawings with the facts about how roots feed the tree. I've already changed my method of watering and feeding a tree further from the root to make these roots spread out wider. There are many personal touches that make the book fun to read. I highly recommend. Barbara Baer, Forestville CA
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Format: Paperback
Robert is an outstanding landscaper with an international reputation. His environmentally sound approach to landscape design, plant selection, establishment, and management is not his alone but is far too rare. Long before it became fashionable, he was a pioneer of sustainable landscapes and his work is based on a far deeper knowledge of plants than is commonly encountered among even the best in the profession. This book is unique in its approach, fascinating, and what is only too rare in modern horticultural books genuinely original. For the thinking gardener who likes to explore unexpected beauty and discover rare information about the plant world rather than be offered a one size fits all prescription for landscaping, this book is strongly recommended. For that matter few professional botanists would fail to learn much from this book. Judyth A McLeod, author of 'Botanica's Organic Gardening' and 'In A Unicorn's Garden'.
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Format: Paperback
I found Robert Kourik's "Roots Demystified" to be a great gardening book! The information was very useful, the humor kept a potentially drab topic interesting and fun, and the additional tidbits and side discussions were all relevant to my gardening life. The book was also terrifically useful in conjunction with one of his earlier books, "Drip Irrigation For Every Landscape and Climate", reinforcing and expanding on many of the concepts of the earlier book.
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Format: Paperback
Gardening expert Robert Kourik is the author of ten books addressing topics that have ranged from drip irrigation, environmentally-sound homes, edible landscaping, and lavender. Now he turns his attention to the necessity of health roots (and thereby healthy plants) for successful gardening and agriculture. Superbly written and thoroughly 'user friendly', "Roots Demystified" is profusely enhanced with twenty-five illustrative graphics showcasing extraordinary illustrations of excavated root systems in their entirety. A compendium of practical, comprehensive, and exceptionally well organized information, advice, tips, and observations that will benefit novice gardeners and seasoned professionals alike, "Roots Demystified" is an excellent and strongly recommended addition to personal, professional, academic, and community library Gardening/Agriculture/Horticulture reference collections and supplemental reading lists.
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Format: Paperback
Familiar with Kourik and with his work, I can honestly say this is my favorite of his books because it shows, better than any, the results of his many years working in the soil as a gardener and working at the typewriter and computer as a writer. Unlike many, if not most, writers about such topics, Kourik knows, from personal experience, what is best for both soil and soul, what to do and what not to do, with shovel and heart.
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