While the Internet has become to the go-to place for information and research, let’s not forget books! Here’s a guide to helpful reference books and more available at the Shelter Island Library and in stores or online. If you have suggestions, send them to sifriendsoftrees@gmail.com.

Available in the Shelter Island Library:


Dirr’s Encyclopedia of Trees & Shrubs

by Michael A. Dirr

An indispensable reference book from a master plantsman.


Diseases of Trees and Shrubs

by Wayne A. Sinclair & Howard H. Lyon


A Natural History of North American Trees

by Donald Culross Peattie


The Tree Book: Superior Selections for Landscapes, Streetscapes, and Gardens

by Michael A. Dirr & Keith S. Warren


The Overstory

by Richard Powers

Winner of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction.


Available online and in stores:


American Canopy: Trees, Forests, and the Making of a Nation

by Eric Rutkow

“The remarkable story of the relationship between Americans and trees across the span of our nation’s history.”


The American Woodland Garden: Capturing the Spirit of the Deciduous Forest

by Rick Darke

A terrific guide to “designing, planting, and maintaining a garden in the woods.”


Around the World in 80 Trees

by Jonathan Driori

“Driori uses plant science to illuminate how trees play a role in every part of human life.”


The Book of Forest and Thicket: Trees, Shrub, and Wildflowers of Eastern North America

by John Eastman

Descriptions touch upon the ecological importance and Native American uses of trees.


Forest Bathing: How Trees Can Help You Find Happiness and Health  

by Dr. Qing Li

The author demonstrates how “spending mindful, intentional time around trees‑what the Japanese call shinrin-yoku or forest bathing‑can promote health and happiness.”


A Handbook of the Trees of the Northern States and Canada 

by Romeyn Beck Hough

An interesting historical reference book first published in 1907. Reprints can be found on Amazon and vintage books stores.


The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate

by Peter Wohlleben

Welcome to the Wood Wide Web!


Lives of the Trees: An Uncommon History

by Diana Wells

Lively biographies of 100 species, from Acacia to Yew.


The Man Who Planted Trees: A Story of Lost Groves, the Science of Trees, and a Plan to Save the Planet

by Jim Robbins

A nurseryman sets out to clone the hardiest trees in the world.


Remarkable Trees of the World

by Thomas Pakenham

Pakenham’s other tree books include The Remarkable Baobab and The Company of Trees.


Tree-Talk: Memories, Myths and Timeless Customs

by Marie-France Boyer


The Trees in My Forest

by Bernd Heinrich

The always-interesting Heinrich writes about “his 300 acres of Maine forest to expose the forest’s rhythms.”


What a Plant Knows

by Daniel Chamovitz

“A rare inside look at what life is really like for the grass we walk on, the flowers we sniff, and the trees we climb, What a Plant Knows offers us a greater understanding of science and our place in nature.”


The Wild Trees: A Story of Passion and Daring

by Richard Preston

Fascinating account of a group of botanists and naturalists who discover wonders in the canopy of the redwoods.