Knowing when and where to prune your shrubs is important. Books are helpful because they can be brought with you out into the yard while you do the work. Pruning books need to have clear pictures for identification, and instructions you can understand. Most pruning books also include trees, vines and other woody plants. A good reference book is timeless.
The Most Detailed Pruning Book
The most concise pruning book to date is "The American Horticultural Society Pruning and Training," by David Joyce and Christopher Brickell, published by DK Publishers in 1996. Both of the authors are experts in their field, and have written other successful gardening books. This book will take you beyond pruning shrubs, to include specialized techniques. It will also guide you through espalier, topiary, and other sculptural methods. It also explains how to restore older, out-of-shape plants, and keep new ones in shape.
The book consists of 336 pages of text, good illustrations and diagrams. This is the book for those who want to do more than just maintain their shrubs and woody plants.
One of the authors, David Joyce, also has a solo effort titled "Pruning and Training Plants, A Complete Guide," published by Firefly Books in 2003. This is another well written, carefully laid out book. The other author, Christopher Brickell, produced an earlier book simply called "Pruning," from Fireside Books, in 1988.
Best Book For Beginners
The "Pruner's Bible" is laid out in a very easy-to-follow format. It covers 80 of the most popular woody plants. The book has a step-by-step format, containing clear instructions and photographs. The pictures help identify each plant, so there will be no mistakes. Once you have worked your way through this group of plants, you should feel confident enough to tackle more. The book also gives direction on the sculpting of hedges and topiaries. "The Pruner's Bible" was written by Steve Bradley, and published by Rodale Press in 2005.
Most Popular Pruning Book
The author of this book is well known for his ability to make things appear effortless. When Lee Reich gives advice, few would question his expertise. He is an avid lecturer, and has compiled several bestselling books on edible gardening. This is a book for gardeners of all levels. It covers details without straying from the subject. "The Pruning Book" has been revised for 2010, and covers a wider array of plants than the previous issue."The Pruning Book," by Lee Reich, was published by Taunton Press in 2010.
Regional Pruning Book
The Brooklyn Botanic Garden has compiled its best pruning advice into one of its "All Season Guides." The book directs information towards different growing regions. It is arranged into plant groups, rather than being laid out in an encyclopedia format. This is a smaller reference book for gardeners wanting a brief, yet reliable pruning reference. "Pruning Trees, Shrubs and Vines," was produced by the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, in 2003.