If you have an interest in trees, tree health, tree surgery, gardening or botany, there can be a bewildering array of books available on the market. Here are our recommendations to get you started.
Tree ID books
Collins Complete Guide to British Trees: A Photographic Guide to Every Common Species – A good quality field guide with many good quality photos.
Trees in Britain, Europe and North America – Too large for a field guide, but nonetheless a very good reference guide with many good quality photos, often to scale.
Collins Tree Guide – An extremely comprehensive field guide to trees of Britain and Europe. Contains many subspecies and cultivars – not for the beginner!
Books on botany in general
Collins Complete Guide to British Wild Flowers: A Photographic Guide to Every Common Species – An accessible guide to British Wild flowers with colour photographs rather than illustrations.
The Wild Flower Key (Revised Edition) – How to identify wild plants, trees and shrubs in Britain and Ireland – The authoritative text on wild flower (and tree) identification.
Botany in a Day: The Patterns Method of Plant Identification – A useful introduction to learning plants by botanical family and seeing the relationships between different species. The quick way to learn all your plants!
Wild Flowers of Britain- Another book by Roger Phillips featuring many high quality and life size photographs.
Trees: Their Natural History – A fascinating guide to what actually goes on inside a tree. Why do oak leaves have lobes? How do trees survive freezing temperatures? Why do trees die? This book answers all these questions and more.
Books on fungi
Mushrooms - Another authoritative photographic guide by Roger Phillips. This is THE book on mushrooms in the UK. Also available online - www.rogersmushrooms.com.
Fungi (Pocket Nature) – A smaller and more portable guide to mushrooms, though nowhere near as comprehensive.
Books on gardening
Perennials: Early Perennials v.1: Early Perennials Vol 1 (Pan garden plant series) - Yet another compendious photographic guide for identifying garden perennials by Roger Phillips.
Perennials: Late Perennials v.2: Late Perennials Vol 2 (Pan Garden Plant) - Second volume of above…
RHS Pruning and Training – An extremely useful guide to when and how to prune a wide variety of garden trees and shrubs. Includes information on training fruit trees and ornamental forms.
Books on edible plants
Wild Food (Natural history photographic guides) - Roger Phillips again! Fantastic full colour photographic guide to some of the most common wild foods to be found in the British Isles.
Food for Free (Collins Natural History) – One of the earliest texts on nature’s harvest, and still one of the best. Part cookbook, part ID guide. This is a good read.
Wild Food – Part written by TV personality Ray Mears, part (probably most) by Palaeoethnobotanist Gordon Hillman. A more scientific look at the foods of our ancestors, including good recipe ideas.
Books on Arboriculture
The Face of Failure - This book by noted expert Dr. Claus Mattheck deals largely with the ways trees can fail, and the signs that they exhibit prior to doing so. A useful and accessible guide for tree surgeons and all tree owners concerned about the health of their trees.
The Body Language of Trees: A Handbook for Failure Analysis (Research for Amenity Trees)- Also by Claus Mattheck, this is a more academic look at the ‘biomechanics’ of trees, how they deal with wind, rain, rooting and holding up their own impressive bulk.
Diagnosis of Ill-health in Trees (Research for Amenity Trees) - Principal industry text for diagnosing many tree diseases be they fungal, bacterial, viral, etc.
The Principles of Tree Hazard Assessment and Management (Research for Amenity Trees) – Another useful text for tree owners concerned about their trees in the light of a more litigous society. This manual discusses many options for managing potentially dangerous trees.