These 2 books about trees and shrubs are great for anyone gardening in a cold climate. Since they are a larger investment in money and time, I’m reluctant to push the zones like I might for perennials. If you are going to wait for a tree to mature, you want one that is going to survive the winter in a healthy state and not languish.
The first book is called Lois Hole’s Favorite Trees and Shrubs, by Lois Hole. The plants in this book are all hardy and rated for zones 3 and colder. The book has useful lists of tree and shrub suggestions, not only for various specialty conditions of light, soil or moisture, but also for bloom, leaf and fruit colour, winter interest, attracting wildlife and more. There are also general tips for their care including planting, pruning, and trouble shooting. This book is most useful for detailed information on specific species. Each tree and shrub gets 2 to 4 pages of description with recommended species or varieties, tips and facts. 2 particularly useful sections for each plant are their growth rate and lifespan. These are often missing from many books, yet are important factors when choosing a tree. Many coloured photos accompany each plant description. With each plant detailed separately, it is very easy to access the information you need.
The next book is called Best Trees and Shrubs for the Prairies, and is written by Hugh Skinner and Sara Williams. This book gives good specific, reliable information for tree and shrub maintenance. The hardiness, drawbacks and benefits of individual cultivars of trees and shrubs is included for each entry. The only point that would improve this book is if the pictures were included with each entry, rather than in a separate section. For solid advise about tree and shrub culture and selection on the prairie or plains, this is a great choice.
If you love the wonderful woodland atmosphere trees give and you garden in a northern climate, these are two good reliable sources of information.