Dirr's Tree and Shrub Finder .
Probably the most popular American gardening app that isn't free is Michael Dirr's Tree and Shrub Finder, totally worth it at just $15. Dirr is THE authority on trees and shrubs and this app is based on his famous Manual of Woody Landscape Plants, a 1,100-page tome that costs $270 new. With this app you just put in what you're looking for - 72 different criteria are available, including hardiness zones, water and light requirements, growth characteristics, flowers, fruits and fall colors - and it'll find the plant for you. The app covers 9,400 plants and contains 7,600 images.
The plant information in the app covers everything from propagation to growth rate, plus the kinds of anecdotes and opinions that make using it fun. Clearly it isn't just Dirr knowledge that's appreciated by his many fan, including me - we also love his personal take on plants and his sense of humor about it all.
Timber Press, the publisher of Dirr's books and this app, says that they'll produce versions of this app for other smart phones - if enough people ask for them. So if you're an Android user and want this app, drop Timber a note.
Audubon Wildlife Guides - for iProducts AND Androids!
You know those Audubon Society Field Guides that nature-lovers have been collecting for decades? Well, they're gone digital and are available for iPhones, iPads, iPod touches, Droids, and many other mobile devices. And unlike the print versions, these apps include interactive search functions, audio of bird calls,and GPS-tracking. Seriously cool stuff.
Digital field guides are available for plants (trees, wildflowers and mushrooms), and all sorts of animals (birds, butterflies, mammals, fish, insects - oh, all of them!) They include more than 8,000 professional color photographs, over 2,300 bird songs and calls, thousands of range maps, in-depth species descriptions with the latest information about behavior, habitat, the natural history of plant and animal families and species, extensive reference material, and much more. And they're all available in real time without an internet connection.
The apps sell for as low as $5 for the "Mid-Atlantic Nature" guide - your starter app. Or you could zero in on Mid-Atlantic Birds for just $7 - and that includes bird calls. Here's a short video about how the guides help users find and identify birds - wherever in North America they may travel. I have GOT to have one of these.