Abiotic Disorders of Landscape Plants, A Diagnostic Guide, Costello, Laurence et al, ©2003 UC Agriculture and Natural Resources Publishing, Most of the problems one faces in the garden are not from pests – unless you count the two legged kind. More often than not, the problem is something to do with too much or too little water or other natural resource. These are ‘abiotic disorders’ and most of the time, this is the book you will need to diagnose the problem.
Common-Sense Pest Control, Olkowski, William, et al © 1991, Taunton Press This is a well written comprehensive text dealing with pest control. No color pictures, but lots of black and white ones and charts. This one is better for learning how to strategize against pests and so is better for more advanced reading into the art and science of pest control – if this is the kind of subject that cranks your tractor. Taunton Press is the place of origin for Fine Gardening Magazine among others.
Find-It-Fast Answers for Your Vegetable Garden, Bradley, Fern Marshall, ©2007, Rodale Inc. Arranged encyclopedic style, this book has entries on crops as well as pests, and one might find information either way. I am just becoming familiar with it’s many helpful suggestions (it boasts “1,241 ways to outsmart insects, diseases and weeds…” so it’s likely to take a few more days to cover the whole enchilada), and it’s useful to have this up to date volume on hand. The down and dirty pest illustrations towards the back of the book may well be worth the price of admission alone.
Good Bugs for Your Garden, Starcher, Allison ©1995, Algonquin Books Written by a Los Angeles local, this book is a treasure for us here – with carefully executed drawings for which she has won numerous awards, Starcher magnificently draws each stage of beneficial insects to help you recognize what that strange critter in front of you really IS.
Pests of Landscape Trees and Shrubs, Dreistadt, Steve et al ©2004, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources Publishing, Like the one below, this is a University of California book and represents one of the three ‘essential’ plant pest books listed here (the others are Abiotic Disorders and the next one on the list, Pests of the Garden and Small Farm). With these three books as references, if you can’t figure out your plant problems, you have something radically new and different, or you haven’t looked hard enough.
Pests of the Garden and Small Farm, A Growers Guide to Using Less Pesticide, Flint,. Mary Louise, ©1998, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources Publishing This is the second edition and it’s even better than the first. Subtitled, “A Grower’s Guide to Using Less Pesticide,” it, and its sister volume, Pests of Landscape Trees and Shrubs, are loaded with color photographs of all the pest (including insects, rodents, diseases, fungi and all the things that make gardeners grow gray hair) and the effects of the pests on our plants. A very valuable resource! This one is targeted at growers of food plants.
Sunset Western Garden Guide 8th Edition, Brenzel, Kathleen Norris, Editor, ©2007, Sunset Publishing This is the book that will help you grow healthy plants on the West Coast and if you have healthy plants, you’ll need to use the other books a lot less. Not a lot of data on pests and their management, but some color photos. (p. 704)
Trowel and Error, Lovejoy, Sharon, ©2003, Workman Publishing With lists from “Clever Uses for Ordinary Household Items” to “Tricks, Traps and Beneficial Helpers” this is one of the most clever compendiums of gardening lore and information you can find today. Written with humor and style, Lovejoy’s book is a must on any organic gardener’s shelf. It doesn’t cost much and it will save you that amount a thousand times over!