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Gardening Trees

The Tree Doctor

A Guide to Tree Care and Maintenance

by (author) Daniel Prendergast & Erin Prendergast

Firefly Books
Initial publish date
Feb 2017
Trees, Trees
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2003
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Feb 2017
    List Price

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A practical reference for experienced and novice tree owners alike.

If you are fortunate enough to live on property that includes trees, The Tree Doctor is the ideal, fully-illustrated manual for care and maintenance. A sapling requires different care than does a young tree or a mature tree. Trees growing in an urban environment face unique challenges that demand an appropriate approach.

Tree owners will refer to this comprehensive reference many times throughout their tree's life. The topics include:

  • Tree characteristics and the benefits of trees
  • Tree species identification
  • How to "read" a tree's condition by its leaves and bark
  • How trees are sold and how to choose a healthy one
  • Hardiness rating, soil analysis, and what trees need from the soil
  • Planning and design, tree selection and placement
  • Planting, after-care, maintenance, and pruning
  • Management of young and mature trees
  • Disease prevention
  • Treatment for insect infestation
  • How to get the most value out of your trees.

The Tree Doctor provides invaluable guidance to those new to tree ownership with advice on the right species for every space, whether to choose a shade or flowering tree, what to look for in choosing a tree, and how to hire qualified experts if you need to. The resources section helps readers to locate experts across the country.

The authors also explain how climate change and recently emerging pests and diseases -- including the Emerald Ash Borer -- are affecting trees and they provide steps to mitigate these threats to tree life and health. Urban dwellers will appreciate the attention given to planting and caring for trees in a city setting, how to water and maintain city trees, and what trees are more ideally suited for planting in densely populated areas.


About the authors

Daniel Prendergast and Erin Prendergast

Daniel Prendergast's profile page

Erin Prendergast's profile page

Editorial Reviews

This book is a good resource for both the urban gardener and the tree-growing novice... With extra thought and planning, this book helps the tree purchaser make decisions that should enable them to "maintain a healthy tree" and grow something beautiful in the space and location they have available... I would recommend this book on tree care to all local gardeners.

Okanagan Saturday

The book is an invaluable resource for anyone from homeowners with trees on their property to landscape professionals. Urbanites will appreciate the particular attention given to planting and caring for trees in a city setting.

American Gardener Magazine

[Review of earlier edition:] Packed with tips for preventative care and maintenance, as well as solutions to tree problems.

Boston Herald

[Review of earlier edition:] Nicely illustrated and accessible... addresses the fundamental do's and don'ts. The simple act of planting a tree is fraught with potential mistakes.

Washington Post

[Review of earlier edition:] Great... a basic reference book for taking care of those trees... a must for anyone who has -- and appreciates -- trees.

Scripps Howard News Service

The book is well-organized, includes many color illustrations, and is easy to read... A great housewarming gift for someone moving into their first home.

Washington Gardener

Provides illustrated guidance on arboreal selection and placement. Even better, it advises smartly about tree care, from pruning to diagnosing problems.

Texas Gardener's Seeds

[Review of earlier edition:] Enlightened advice... essential points are meticulously illustrated through well-defined photographs, detailed diagrams, and straightforward text.


[Review of earlier edition:] Helping homeowners protect their investments... topics... include choosing a tree and a site, planting properly, caring for the tree, pruning and diagnosing problems.

Chicago Tribune

[Review of earlier edition:] This work is a neat book, prepared by a professional arborist, in a refreshing and easy-to-understand style... well written and a valuable reference for the home gardener.

American Reference Books Annual, Volume 35

[Review of earlier edition:] Excellent illustrations and full color photographs make the text easy to understand... Highly recommended for its practical information, this book should be on the shelves of all gardeners, land developers, and civic officials concerned with the care of trees.

Current Books on Gardening and Botany [Chicago Botanic Gardens]

[Review of earlier edition:] Combining the reader-friendliness of [popular media articles] with (at least some of) the depth and authority of [textbooks on arboriculture]... This is an excellent information source.


[Review of earlier edition:] Brimming with useful information.

Los Angeles Daily News

[Review of earlier edition:] Homeowners with trees on their property will do well to read this informative book... The photos and illustrations are specific, informative, making how-to sections easy to follow.

Country Almanac

[Review of earlier edition:] The definitive reference on trees... abounds with all sorts of great tips.

Floral and Nursery Times

[Review of earlier edition:] It demonstrates that it is important to research thoroughly when choosing trees to shade our homes.

Newsletter National Garden Clubs

[Review of earlier edition:] A fount of information for the novice, and even for the more experienced... the illustrations are breathtaking and educational... This book continues the tradition of excellence for all Firefly Books. This book is highly recommended.


Offers a survey of all aspects of planting, caring, feeding and cutting.

The New York Times

[Review of earlier edition:] An excellent, readable, superbly illustrated guide.

Hamilton Spectator

[Review of earlier edition:] If you need some maintenance advice for your trees, [this book] is a good place to start.

The American Gardener