Alex Shigo, Jack Phillips, Tree SeriesBecause you purchased The Nature of Tree Care, a collaboration between Alex Shigo and Jack Phillips, I would like to introduce you to the completion of that series of essays, The Soul of a Tree: Conversations with Alex Shigo on the Nature of Tree Care by Jack Phillips. It is a book of Shigo philosophy, research and commentary on trees, their environment and care as imparted by Dr. Shigo to Jack Phillips on their walks through the woods and around a microscope.

Here is an excerpt from the Preface, by Jack Phillips:

“I first got a glimpse into Alex Shigo’s world on a sunny afternoon, deep in the New Hampshire woods. I had been invited to join a hike into the woods near Shigo’s cottage on Mendum’s Pond. There were about a half-dozen of us gathered to learn about trees from the man whom many considered to be the father of modern arboriculture. The others had wandered on ahead, and I found Alex sitting on a stump with his faithful goden retriever at his side.

When our eyes met, he invited me to join him with a furtive gesture – as though he had some deep secret to share. In fact, he did. He had something to share that I still don’t fully understand. In fact, we spend many hours in conversation over the next few years, walking in the woods or looking through a microscope, discussing the nature of nature, and what he came to describe as the “soul” of a tree. Of course, it was not a conversation between equals. He was intrigued by the fact that I was not an arborist, but a college humanities professor with little formal biology background. I wanted to learn about trees, and Alex loved to talk about big, illusive philosophical ideas. Together we came to the realization that it might be time to introduce some of his revolutionary concepts in a new way, to a new audience. Nature of Tree Care, Alex Shigo

He charged me with distilling our woodland conversations into essays; drafts of the first three were in progress before his tragic death in 2006. These were published shortly thereafter as The Nature of Tree Care. Continuing the work we began together has been extremely difficult in his absence. I still walk in those woods when I can (it’s a long way from Nebraska), and have tried to remain faithful to the spirit of those ambling conversations. Hopefully the reader will find something of that spirit in this expanded collection of essays. It is best read sitting on a stump on a sunny day.”

Good arboriculture, according to Shigo, is based on understanding how trees grow and survive. The Soul of a Tree is a beautiful and conversational book that helps explain those concepts, with a philosophical and environmental perspective as well. It would be an excellent companion to Modern Arboriculture or Tree Basics.

The Soul of a Tree: Conversations with Alex Shigo on the Nature of Tree Care by Jack Phillips is 6″ x 9″, 52 pages with full color photos throughout.