An in­dis­pens­able ref­er­ence book for gar­den­ers of all lev­els of ex­pe­ri­ence with prac­ti­cal ad­vice on how to keep your plants free of dis­ease.

Gardens Illustrated Magazine - - Book Reviews - Re­viewer Rory Du­soir is a Kew-trained gar­dener and writer.

The fifth edi­tion of this de­fin­i­tive pub­li­ca­tion was ea­gerly awaited. Although, of course, much re­mains con­stant since the last edi­tion in 2009, there will also have been many ar­eas of evo­lu­tion in the arms race be­tween gar­den­ers and their many foes. Nu­mer­ous chem­i­cal con­trols will have been banned or su­per­seded, and new prob­lems will have emerged. Who had heard of ash dieback in 2009? This edi­tion is au­thored once again by those doyens of plant pathol­ogy Pippa Green­wood and Andrew Hal­stead, but presents a thor­ough re­vi­sion of the text. For some time Green­wood ran the Plant Pathol­ogy Depart­ment at RHS Wis­ley (which deals with thou­sands of gar­den­ers’ queries na­tion­wide), and has be­come very well known for her work on Gar­den­ers’ Ques­tion Time; Hal­stead was un­til re­cently prin­ci­pal en­to­mol­o­gist for the RHS. There­fore, the pair not only have a wealth of sci­en­tific knowl­edge be­tween them, but also a great deal of ex­pe­ri­ence in how that re­lates to com­mon gar­den­ers’ prob­lems.

The book’s for­mat has changed lit­tle since ear­lier edi­tions. It of­fers a num­ber of dif­fer­ent routes to iden­ti­fy­ing spe­cific prob­lems – you can start with the pho­to­graphic gallery, or­gan­ised by type, or use the ex­ten­sive A-Z list of ac­tual con­di­tions. Al­ter­na­tively, all dis­eases are care­fully cross­ref­er­enced against lists of plant species – so that you can look up the name of the plant you are con­cerned about and find a list of prob­lems to which it is sub­ject. The au­thors offer prag­matic ad­vice on the use of gar­den chem­i­cals, with­out judge­ment. But, the book can also serve as a first point of ref­er­ence for or­ganic grow­ers, as the au­thors en­cour­age a bal­anced ap­proach to pest prob­lems and offer in­ge­nious or­ganic con­trol meth­ods.

PESTS & DIS­EASES by Pippa Green­wood and Andrew Hal­stead RHS, £18.99 ISBN 978-0241315606

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