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Growing Conifers

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Learn to Growing Conifers in this classic book from John Mason, Princoipal of Australian Correspondence Schools, Fellow of Parks and Leisure Australia, Fellow the Institute of Horticulture (UK)

Popular grown evergreen Conifers are well known in all countries from snow covered mountians to hot tropics. Understand how to grow, propagate and select conifers best suited to your own climate and soil. Learn how to use them for landscape features. 108 coloured photos and 12 sketch diagrams assist in identification and use of conifers. (Kangaroo Press)



1. Classification and General Care 
Cycadophyta, Ginkgophyta, Coniferophyta; Conifer families and genera, Basic requirements, Leaf fall and browning, Problems.

2. Propagation
Methods of improving propagation rates (Basal wounding, Hormones, Stratification, Scarification), Media, Hygiene, Labelling/Identification, Cuttings, Seed, Grafting

3. Conifers in Containers
Choosing a container, Caring for containerised plants, Problems, Potting up, Potting mixes, Ideas for using conifers in containers.

4.  Pruning, Hedges and Topiary
Pruning, Whorl or Random branching types, Columnar types, Nursery grown plants, Yound conifers in the landscape, Topiary, Hedges, Mazes, Pleaching, Pollarding.

5. Landscaping with Conifers
Which conifer where, purchasing conifers, conifers for specific purposes and characteristics

6. Commercial and other Uses
Edible conifers, Conifer oils, Poisonous conifers, Agroforestry and timber

7. Directory of Conifer
Covers all of the main genera and many popular cultivars.

Appendices and Index

Extract from book:





The great thing about conifers is that they look good all year round. Most of them are grown for foliage, and in general, foliage remains the same pretty well all year.

Unlike other trees and shrubs, you do not have a month of attractive flowers, followed by an obscure plant the remainder of the year. A brilliant blue of gold foliage conifer will be blue or gold month in, month out.


There are many features that attract people to conifers. Chemicals in their foliage tend to deter many pests from attacking them, and inhibit weed growth on the ground below. The pungent aroma of conifer foliage is unique and for many people refreshingly attractive.


Many conifer varieties are slow growing. While some see this as a disadvantage, it can also be an advantage. Once a conifer garden is established, the slower growth generally means the effect remains stable. Unlike fast growing shrubs, conifers are less likely to become shabby and overgrown, and require much less frequent pruning.


Conifers are an ancient group of plants which were the dominant species when the worlds climate was colder. The range of modern conifers is diverse, with cultivars suited to virtually all types of climates and situations.


Even though there are more varieties which suit cold or temperate climates, there are still plenty of conifers which can be grown in hotter areas (hot dry or even wet tropics).




There are several ways of classifying plants. Different texts that you read will classify conifers in different manners, particularly in terms of the higher or uppermost levels. There appears to be much greater consistency between the different systems at the lower levels of classification (i.e. family, genus & species).


In many texts, particularly older ones, conifers are classified in a plant division called the "Gymnospermae"  which are more commonly called the Gymnosperms. This term means literally "naked seed' and these plants are seed producing plants where the seeds are not enclosed in an ovary. The most familiar sub-group of the gymnosperms are the conifers. This classification refers to the way in which conifer species produce ovules (which will become seeds once fertilized) as exposed immature cones or flowers. Other gymnosperms include cycads and the Gingko.

In more recent times the gymnosperms have commonly been split into four separate plant divisions as follows (although the general term gymnosperms is still commonly used as a collective for these four divisions):

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