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Practical Botany for Gardeners

Practical Botany for Gardeners 
Over 3,000 Botanical Terms Explained and Explored 
by Geoff Hodge  

Explaining the science of gardening without being overly scientific, this botanical primer provides the kind of botanical schooling that every grower should possess.

Although the subtitle suggests a dictionary, the book is much more a textbook with articles  introducing the plant kingdom and its classification; explaining plant growth and reproduction; describing the inner workings of plant cells.

Others chapters cover soils, pests, pruning, and disorders. The text also includes brief biographies of prominent botanists.

Girdling and Ringing

Because phloem tubes sit on the outside of the xylem, and just under the bark, trees and other woody plants can easily be killed by stripping away the bark in a ring on the trunk or main stem. This process is known as girdling or bark ringing.

Incomplete girdling (i.e., leaving about one-third of the bark intact) can be used to control a plant's growth. It can curb excessive leafy growth and help promote flowering and fruiting. It is a very useful process for unproductive fruit trees, with the exception of stone fruit.

Mice, voles, and rabbits can often girdle trees as they feed on its nutritious, sappy bark -- where these animals are a problem, trees should be protected with some kind of netting or other physical barrier around the main stem.
Bark Ringing explained on 1938 Wills Garden Hints trading card #38
Bark Ringing explained on 1938 Wills Garden Hints trading card #38
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Practical Botany for Gardeners


The mistletoe genus contains between 70 and 100 species of woody, partially parasitic shrubs. They have a unique strategy of acquiring nutrients though a combination of their own photosynthetic activity and the absorption of materials from their host.

They are also known as "obligate parasites" as they are unable to complete their life cycle without attachment to the host. These hosts are woody shrubs and trees, and different species of Viscum tend to parasitize particular host species, although most are adaptable to a number of different host species.


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