Trees first!

„How do I start with my treehouse project?“ is a question we often get asked. The simple answer: with the tree. Because: Without a tree there’s no treehouse. A true treehouse-gentleman treats the tree of choice like a true queen. This includes knowing your tree down to the roots and making sure to limit its freedom as little as possible. Like in a real relationship.


For a solid choice of readable tree-literature we ventured into the bookworm’s cave, the veritable dangerous Powell’s City of Books, in Portland, Oregon. It’s probably one of the biggest bookstores I’ve ever seen. The book town covers a whole block (!) and in two hours we’d barely seen a quarter of it. A terribly terrific bookstore with an awfully fantastic selection.


What makes Powell’s bookstore so special, besides the size and the selection, is the fact that it not only offers goods hot off the press, but also used books and antiquarian reading material and also it’s open until 11 p.m. Everybody can sell her or his books here or trade them for a voucher. A very reasonable and ingenious concept we’ve also seen in an outdoor store in Seattle, where they were selling the hottest shit next to second-hand outdoor-stuff.


The bookstore was so overwhelming, that we even caught ourselves taking a captivating book in the right hand while discovering ten new ones on the left and our eyes where almost squinting at two different directions. To the extent that at the end I didn’t choose any of the books. The only souvenir which made it to the checkout were six „Cat Butt Magnets“, also because I felt like a cat having been jumped on by hundred mice at the same time and not having caught a single one of them.


That’s why we made this short but carefully selected list of books about trees, so you don’t have to find yourself in the awkward situation of buying those magnets. When you’re done reading these books, you’ll bow to each tree for the rest of your life.


  1. Trees of the World 
    This extraordinary comprehensive illustrated Encyclopedia of trees really is unparalleled. We couldn’t find a comparable work on the german market. More than 1.300 trees can be identified and classified with it. Also valuable topics like tree-evolution, life cycle, climate and pollution, cultivation, selection of trees and planting, suitable soils and surroundings are covered.Treehouseblog – Trees of the world
  2. The Tree
    The british scientist Colin Tudge writes very comprehensive and elegant about the genesis of trees, how they live, absorb nutrients, reproduce and communicate with each other. Tudge takes the reader on a journey to the rainforests of Costa Rica, to the Redwoods in California, to Panama, Brasil, New Zealand and China. A fantastic interdisciplinary mixture of history, science, philosophy and environmentalism.Treehouseblog – The Tree
  3. The long long life of trees
    This book by Fiona Stafford – scientist, radio host and university professor in Oxford – reads like a walk through the woods. From oak to hawthorn Stafford discovers the science and symbology of the 17 most common trees.Treehouseblog – The long, long life of trees
  4. Trees, woods and forests
    Charles Watkins takes us on a sociological and cultural trip through the history of trees. In an entertaining way he reveals how our interaction with trees has changed over time and thereby questions common and outdated forestry practices. He refers to the current status of research of historians, botanists, ecologists, geographers and the forestry itself. A fascinating overview of human interaction with one of the most valuable ressources of our planet.Treehouseblog – Trees, woods and forests
  5. The wild trees

    This book revolves around the most fascinating and biggest trees of the world – the Redwoods. Richard Preston tells the passionate and gripping story about a group of botanists, all on their own exploring the for the most part uncharted canopies of the Redwoods in California.

    Treehouseblog – The wild trees

  6. Did you know that plants can sense light, chemicals, temperature, mechanical stimulation, electricity and sound? Anyone who wants to find out more we recommend this book by Richard Karban. Detailed and comprehensible he unfolds how plants learn, how they perceive their environment and how they process and transmit those perceptions.

    Treehouseblog – Plant sensing and communication

  7. To the joy of many of the TreehouseConference’s participants, this book by forest ranger Peter Wohlleben is now available in english language. In a very entertaining and personal way Wohlleben gives his readers an understanding of the trees communication and interaction. He shows that beech trees live in a social community and oaks are more of loners. A book I read through in a day.

    Treehouseblog – The hidden life of trees

  8. Aristotles versus Newtons world view. Christopher is reading this thrilling non-fiction-story right now. All excited he told me that it provides interdisciplinary insights he recklessly missed in school. In an elegant and smooth-to-read narration about the life of a Douglas Fir you learn everything from the big bang to decease about this and other fascinating living things. This book is so good, you gotta read it twice, says Christopher.

    Treehouseblog – The trees

  9. Saving the world with mushrooms? Sounds adventurous at first and above all: what’s that got to do with trees? In this groundbreaking handbook you learn why mushrooms are the best and most simple solution against environmental pollution, how they transform pollutants and how you support sustainable forests with the help of mushroom cultivation.

    Treehouseblog – Mycelium runningTreehouseblog – Mycelium running

  10. Anyone who is interested in the magical world of mushrooms now – and I don’t mean the psychedelic ones – will bogart this work with illustrations by Beatrix Potter. It offers a vivid overview of the secretive world of mushrooms and current scientific discoveries: the way we nowadays use mushrooms as medicine, drug or food is discussed, along with mushroom biology and what the cause is for mushroom poisoning. A cultural, scientific and historical accumulation, authored by a passionate scientist – Nicholas Money.

    Treehouseblog – Mushroom


Add yours
  1. 3
    Casey Clapp

    There are so many books I need to read. You guys are the best. And The Tree, by Colin Tudge, is just one of my favorites. I couldn’t stop reading it. I have a tattoo inspired by the book.

  2. 5

    I just ordered The Tree by Colin Tudge – which has great reviews online, and sounds like a great book. Thanks to both of you for your suggestion!

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