Sunday, February 3, 2019

Pruning Simplified

Pruning Simplified is a new tutorial gardening guide specifically for pruning by Steven 'Brad'  Bradley. Due out 5th Feb 2019 (original edition 2005) from Timber Press, it's 192 pages and available in paperback format.

I'm a keen gardener. Despite enjoying gardening and growing up with grandparents who were keen gardeners and always let me have my own 'patch', I've been intimidated by pruning. Pruning was always my grandfather's purview and even though he was always generous with his time and had infinite patience with me, it never really 'stuck' with me.  I think in my case at least the threat of ruining a potentially very valuable plant leads to intimidation. I don't want to 'ruin' my roses or the fruit trees I overtook when we bought our property, and so I wind up doing nothing (and generally making the situation worse).

The author has an encouraging 'voice'. His instructions are well-written and factual. He explains what the natural growing mechanisms are for each of the 50 plants in this primer and how to best utilize them to get the best performance from the various trees, shrubs, and vining plants.  The included pruning diagrams are concise and easy to understand.

The book opens with an introduction including the whys and wherefores of pruning strategy. The introduction represents about 8% of the page content.  The 'meat' of the book is the species by species primer section, roughly 70%. They include garden staples such as several types of rose, both deciduous and evergreen barberry, forsythia, wisteria, clematis, and a host of fruit trees. This list is by no means exhaustive. I do know that there wasn't a bush or tree in my eclectic garden which wasn't represented. The primers are followed by a more general technique and theory section, along with a very valuable section on remedial pruning to get plants which have run wild back into shape and production.  There are appendices with tables covering hedge plant use and maintenance and when to undertake pruning of different species as well as a very basic glossary.

The index is cross referenced by species and variety.

All in all a very useful addition to the gardener's bookshelf.

Four stars.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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