Biology and Tree Care
A Photo Guide
By A. L. Shigo, Klause
Vollbrecht and Niels Hvass
Published by SITAS, Skovvej 56. 2750 Bellerup, Denmark, 1987
Available from Honey
Brothers Ltd., New Pond Road, Peasmarsh, Guildford, Surrey, GU3
IJR England. (Sole agents for United Kingdom and Ireland) Rivett
Enterprises Pty Ltd., 2-12 Marriot Street, Oakleigh, Victoria 3165
Australia. (Sole agents for Australia and New Zealand)
Reviewed by Thomas H.
There will not be many
arboriculturists or urban foresters in the temperate regions of
the world who have not been influenced by the fundamental research
carried out by Alex Shigo during his career in the Forest Service
of the United States Department of Agriculture. His patient and
methodical examination of decay patterns in the woody tissues of
trees has revealed the mechanism of wound responses, indicating
biochemical processes which isolate the invading organisms. No longer
are trees treated like human beings to whom poultices, ointments
and all sorts of medicines are applied to assist and encourage healing.
Wound sealants are quite rightly relegated to nothing more than
placebos whose only function is cosmetic. The concept of barrier
zones isolating infection is epitomised in compartmentalization
and walling off. Arboriculturists who have headed the findings of
Shigo's research, require no further evidence to demonstrate the
validity of his teaching.
Through 135 photographs
selected from his many dissections, his tree biology concepts and
particularly their relevance to branch pruning are demonstrated.
The schematic representation of actual specimen branching (photographs
39, 40 and 41) will in all probability be regarded as the most important
single advance in the understanding of tree morphology. Die-hards,
have, and will continue to pooh-pooh these findings and conclusions,
but all they have to do is to consider and understand the pictorial
evidence presented in this title which has been compiled by Alex
Shigo and his two eminent European colleagues. After digesting the
pictoral evidence, only a stubborn person would remain unconvinced.
This title must surely
be essential in every arboriculturist's armour of tree protection.
In their hands it will be a gospel of tree care, but horticulturists,
landscape architects and foresters must be able to interpret its
contents to the planners and administrators who are responsible
for the enforcement of Tree Preservation Orders and other constraints
designed to protect the tree component of the country's environment.
The American english
of the captions is irritating, but on no account should it be condemned
there is no reason why the captions cannot be rephrased without
diminishing their impact and to suit the level of the audience.
The Danish editors could have adopted the Oxford Dictionary spelling,
for example defence instead of defense.
It is unfortunate no
one in Britain could have followed up what undoubtedly is an arboricultural
scoop which has been achieved by Niels Hvass and Klause Vollbrecht
with the generous cooperation of Alex Shigo. There can be no better
punch line to this book than that opposite Photograph 30
'Treatments that prevent or break boundaries destroy the defence
Journal of the Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture 1988
More of Alex Shigo's
research and publications are profiled at the
Tree Biology Dictionary Website
Reviews Main Page