Pruning Simplified (A Step-by-Step Guide to 50 Popular Trees and Shrubs) by Steven Bradley.

4 out of 5 stars

I would like to thank Timber Press for providing me with a free – temporary – electronic ARC of this book, via Netgalley. Although I required their approval, the decision to read this book is my choice and any reviews given are obligation free.

Okay, so one of my vices is gardening… I like the whole idea of it, but any time I try and do anything serious in my garden my green thumb turns black, and it all dies. So my garden is, in general, a huge overgrown mess. Feeling sorry for plants out there I wanted to give them a trim, but wanted to get it right as I have already learnt the wrong way to prune – I could tell it was wrong, things died.

This is why I asked to read ‘Pruning Simplified’, as I need all the step by step guidance I could find. And I really enjoyed it. There is some great basic info at the start about your equipment, how to maintain it, store it, etc. But the part I loved was the ‘Directory of Plants’ that goes through plant by plant how to prune, when to prune, when not to and so on. Talk about a helping hand! Most of my gardening books will talk about plants as to which part of the garden best suits them, water levels, flowering times, etc. That’s all well and good, but I needed to know when and how to hack them down when I can no longer reach the clothes line. I knew the basics of roses, and hadn’t killed my nectarine tree after a heavy trim, but I really didn’t want to do much more without help. I now feel I have that help with ‘Pruning Simplified’. Though I will state here and now that they are very open and honest to the fact that they only list “50 popular tree and shrubs” in their directory so don’t get upset if the plant you want help with isn’t listed. Timber Press is a North American publisher and so the popular plants listed at popular IN North America… so there were a few gaps for this Aussie gardener. Still, there is enough there to encourage me to sharpen my shears and have a go.

As you can probably tell, I found ‘Pruning Simplified’ a great reference book. I mean, yes you could sit down and read it from cover to cover just to take it all in, but it is a guide, something to refer back to as the need arises. There are also some great tables on when to prune, plants that require little to no pruning, best plants for hedges and the like and so on. Add to that the glossary (the dummies guide for people like me) and yes, I found it a great reference book.

When it comes to the nitty gritty layout, format, etc – ‘Pruning Simplified’ lives up to the excellent standard I have come to expect when reviewing books by Timer Press. Clear, easy to follow, well laid out, excellent reference book.

Would I recommend this book to others?

Yes I would. Whether you’re a bit of a black thumb in the garden like me, or a truly blessed green thumb – you will find some good advice on how to prune. As I can honestly see even experienced gardeners wanting to double check the best methods and times to prune certain plants, so can see them referring to this book as much as someone just starting out in the garden.

Would I buy this book for myself?

Quite probably. As with most books like this, I would much rather seek out a book better suited for the Australian climate and plants. But, saying that, a lot of the plants I grow in my garden are listed and so there isn’t that much of an issue. The table in the back goes by seasons, which was such a relief, as I hate trying to remember which months go with which seasons in the southern hemisphere, let alone the northern one. 😉

But, yes, I could see myself buying the paper format version of ‘Pruning Simplified’ just to help me not kill yet another plant I have been loving looking after and then decided to tidy up.

In summary: a well laid out, highly informative guide to the best way to prune popular plants.


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