THE MASTER GARDENER BIBLE was at one time "SUNSET WESTERN GARDEN BOOK". We carried one with us at all times. But times change & the MASTER GARDENERS have written a NEW TESTAMENT of their own. I wouldn't say it is a replacement to the Sunset book any more them The New Testament of the Bible replaces the Old Testament. But THE MASTER GARDENER HAND BOOK was writen by MASTER GARDENERS for MASTER GARDENERS with input from all the top plant experts from the Univ system, State & County Ag experts. It's more of a hands on, how to book. Where Sunset highlights plants to I.D., the MASTER GARDENER HAND BOOK assumes you have made your plant choices & takes it from there. Pound for pound, I'd say the Master Gardeners book weights more. Covers in detail the stuff Sunset just touched on. I think they belong together just like the Old & New Testament of the Bible. You just can't have one without the other.
The Master Gardener book covers it all in detail, soil conditions, IPM in detail etc. Anything that could mess up a gardeners' day in the garden, the Master Gardeners' book has it covered. Problem being you won't find it in your local book store. It's a univ publication & in univ books stores or by order from your local coop extension or Master Gardener sight.
If both were put infront of a gardener & could only have one, it would be a tuffy. But for more hands on what to do and why, i'd have to choose the book writen by the Master Gardeners.
garden dok bs, mg. MASTER GARDENER, univ of calif coop extension.