1. For the love of trees : part 1 (in progress) (with views from an arborist)

    November 15, 2017 by MAX

    And what’s not to love? Check in here periodically to catch up on my musings of the tree, the magnificent, the mysterious and the important tree!  As a lover of trees, and as a professional arborist I never stop learning and investigating the incredible and diverse universe that is the tree. Think about it: what other group of plants (or animals perhaps?) on this planet has benefited mankind as much? Trees offer shelter or some form of benefit  to us and a vast chunk of life on this planet.  I’ll attempt to cover many forms of life benefiting from trees, along with the oldest of various species, and of course their awesome beauty, beginning with the oak family.

    Record size trees of Mossuri, arborist Ed Max, rcord trees of Iliinois, champion trees of America

    This massive Bur oak blew me away. Its sheer mass and height is unreal. Many species of birds, fungi, insects and mammals earn their living off this live behemoth.

    There are studies done on the life cycle of the native oak, and the estimates are that well over 20,000 different species of organisms rely on the oak family (Midwest region) for sustenance (both above ground, and below)

    native oaks, record size trees of Illinois

    State Champion White oak of Illinois. A very lg. tree indeed. Located just SW of Ottawa Il.. To think that this plant has been here since before the founding of the U.S.!

     

     

     


  2. Osage Orange tree (Maclura pom.) Failure – A century and a half year old tree goes down in West Chicago, Il

    November 9, 2017 by MAX

    A tale behind the pictures below:  (with some embellishment).

    Picture this……Originally oak savannah, mixed with occasional tallgrass prairie…… early 1800’s perhaps…..pre-settlement, with sizeable native – American  (in what is today West Chicago Il. ).  Then…….along came settlers and farmers looking for arable, loamy  farmland.      And they found it.     So in the process of clearing and maintaining their holdings (as time went on), by the mid 1800’s the idea of hedgerows came to be the norm.

    And one of the more common and cheap forms of hedgerow materials was Osage Orange, a native to Texas and Oklahoma.  

     

    Tree care near Geneva and Winfield Il, arborist and designers on staff, maxlandscape.com for trees and garden design

    Osage orange tree failed in late October 2017.  There had been storms the past month, but none severe- it was too heavy w/ a co-dominant (or pair of) stems. This tree had been in this spot since the 1800’s…..now an unrecognizable jumble of weedy invasives.

    The farmer would then head out to his or her property borders and plant  the sections of live Osage Orange into the rich earth every few yards, and VIOLA!…..the lifeless (dormant) wood sprang to life. And live they did. For close to 2 centuries! (See annual growth rings pictured). This species was also used (by the U.S. and WCC) as hardy a windbreak during and after the dustbowl in the central U.S., to combat erosion and wind.

    So, if you ever come across a lonely row of Osage Orange along a roadside, or in a neighborhood, remember the lore of the farmer and his hedgerow.  HINT: Look for those odd, and rather decorative lime green fruits in fall. They are produced by the female Osage Orange. Yes, they are sexed- male and female (or dioecious). If you ever have the urge to plant for the fruit- you’ll need both sexes to have fruit. In today’s market, most Osage Orange are of the male clones only, so no fruit. And sadly- up until recently, Osage Orange are hard to come by. But I recommend such trees- as they are hardy, seem to have few insect or disease issues, and live for centuries!

    History of trees  in the Chicago area…..See our native tree list for more info on reliable and sturdy trees for our changing climate in the Midwest. Ed Max is a certified arborist and naturalist, and would be happy to stop out for a consultation. Fall is best time for planting, as is spring.

    Wheaton Il historic trees, native trees , Arborsit and landscape designs

    Osage Orange – ancient hedgerow species of the 1800s, arborist Ed Max tells the tale. Trees of West Chicago, Winfield, Il are his specialty and passion!

    * With a warming climate, and climate change- deciding on a tree for long term benefits is important – use native species such as oak, and hickory. Or Gingko, maple and Cypress.     Ed Max is a certified Arborist and a member of the International Arborist Society, and is a landscape designer in the western suburbs of Chicago.


  3. Fall colors soon? Time for the fall clean up too? And its time to get the correct pruning practices too, on woody shrubs and trees

    October 17, 2017 by MAX

    With a 3 month drought, followed by well over a half foot of water in one day (Oct 12th)- the tree canopy is stressed to say the least.  And let us not forget the opening of 2017, and the lack of regular winter conditions….2017 has not been of the norm….far from it. Is this the new normal regarding climate change going forward?

    Of course, this stresses out trees and most woody species.

    clean up, fall services , landscape clean up, wheaton il,

    A Glen Ellyn Il fall landscape, witch-hazel in color.

    Wheaton, Winfield fall landscape are fall clean up

    Green Mountain Sugar Maple 14 yrs aft install
    A sturdy native species, good fall colors, seen here in a Wheaton fall landscape

    That said –  my bet is we have a rather lackluster fall color display.  And with the ongoing warmth and wonderful weather (who can complain…. mid Oct,  and nary a forsty morn to date)  So,  who dares complain?  When the fall leaf pick up and seasonal bed care comes on, get in touch. We can set up for the clean up and leaf removal. Designs needs too? Winter season is best for us to begin the landscape design process , and get an early jump in spring. Get in touch soon!

     

     


  4. Liveliest colors in fall blooming aster, and pollinators love them all!

    September 25, 2017 by MAX

    New England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae) is one of the Midwestern natives and late blooming. Showy purple blooms w an orange eye. Deer resistant too! Grows to 3 or 4 ft, good for background , rear of sun beds.

    Also very drought resistant. Bees love them, as do monarchs which seek out all aster for late season food source.

    native species, natural landscapes by Ed Max, maxlandscape.com

    Late blooming native perennial, hardy, offers some of the best color in the late gardens.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Contact us soon for advice on late season colors, designs, and pollinator friendly habitats!

     

     

    native aster, woods aster of Wheaton landscapes

     

    Contact us

     


  5. Another unique (and healthy) Custom Landscape of Elmhurst, Il. from Max

    June 16, 2017 by MAX
    custom landscapes of Elmhurst Il, edmax head landsxcape designer , natural landscapes, using natives for monarch and pollinator friendly habitat.

    Classic  (and newer) Elmhurst, Il. home with vintage architecture followed up w our naturalistic free-form landscape design (2 yrs aft.) using vintage and native species and a rain garden.  Unilock paver called ‘Thornbury’ was used for the patios, and large front paver walkway, plus a Bio-swale (to hold run-off from back) w wetland obligate species and pollinator friendly landscapes!  (Wetland species -Swamp white oak, winterberry, sedges, native wetland species), plus Bur oak (Quercus macro.) for truly majestic trees to frame the house (one day). A truly long-term plan w nature and pollinators in mind.

     

    Designs and consultation by Ed Max, certified arborist, naturalist and head designer of Max’s Greener Places and maxlandscape.com.

     

     

     

     


  6. Rare and beautiful White Ladies Slipper Orchid (Cypripedium candidum), a beguiling and shy native not suited to most of our landscapes

    May 19, 2017 by MAX

    And best left in the wild!, as seen here, and in nice numbers at this rather secluded and secret site near West Chicago, Winfield areas. A super rare native orchid-  mostly due to illegal,(and  bone-headed) harvesting from the wild. When dug in bloom, mortality rate is off the charts.  Endangered in most northern states, l,isted as threatened in Il.,

    Best admired, and photographed, but leave alone and enjoy this cool plant structure!

     

    native and natural landscaping in West Chicago Il, Wheaton Il natural shade beds, landscapes by ed amx

    White ladies slipper mid may 17, and native species of prairies, Midwest landscapes

    A denizen of wet prairies and fen habitats, with few remaining, so habitat is critical.

     


  7. An heirloom landscape for a historic home in old Wheaton, Il.

    May 5, 2017 by MAX

    And what a project it was!  Seen here some 3 to 4 years after. The azaleas,  native redbuds, and serviceberry  (Amelanchier) all add the bright spring colors of this garden. The stone wall was on site , just had to be discovered and dug , then reset! We love doing significant homes , and enjoy researching to discover the proper plant types to fit this home and its architecture. Designed in 1895 by famous architect of the day- Jarvis Hunt. Orig. part of the Chicago Golf Club.

     

    traditional and historic landscapes of Wheaton, Il., custom designs by ed max

    Vintage and historic landscaping in Wheaton Il, and its old neighborhoods

    Cottage gardens of Wheaton, Wheaton landscape design

    Historic home in Wheaton, Il., Vintage landscapes are now 3 yrs old, designed by Ed Max, landscape designer


  8. Illinois State Champion White Oak (Quercus a.) near McNabb, Il.

    May 2, 2017 by MAX

    What a monster! To stand near this great plant is awesome! Thought to be at least 350 to 400 yrs old. SW of Starved Rock in the entrance to a farmhouse, you too can see it, near the roadside.

    native oaks, record size trees of Illinois

    Record size state champ, White oak. A very lg. tree.

     

    Oaks are an important species in the Midwest and in the Chicagoland area. Encourage oak planting. Many species rely on the oak for food and shelter. The native population of most oak species is on the decline due to disease, changing climate and especially due to invasive species such as buckthorn and Asian honeysuckle. Little to no regeneration of oaks means that as the large specimens as een here decline, we stand to lose a true legacy tree of the Midwest. Red , bur and white oak were the oak species most common a century ago, when fire was a common occurrence on the prairie.

    Today, with lack of fire, they are losing ground. So plant an oak today!

     


  9. Bluebells: a naturalizing beauty for any woodland or shade garden setting (seen here in a Wheaton, Il. landscape)

    by MAX
    native and natural landscapes, shade gardens of Wheaton

    Bluebells a bloomin!
    Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia) in bloom in Wheaton, Il. mid April. Quite a show. Mertensias  naturalize well, come up all over, then quickly vanish.

    Also a bumblebee magnet. Important and early species, provides important nectar for pollinators. Even competes well with invasive species such as garlic mustard!

    Bluebells (Mertensia virg.)  a native woodland ephemeral, good for wooded, shaded and wetter areas. Will spread well if content. Mix with later blooming plants such as fern, hosta, zig zag goldenrod, shrubs such as Spicebush, witchhazels, and pawpaw.

     

     


  10. Dance of the Wood Betony (Pedicularis), a lovely parasitic native

    by MAX
    Native landscape by ed max, butterlfy gardens of wheaton, glen elly woodland native species, west chicago native landscapes, natural landscape by ed max,

    Swirling beauty! This semi parasitic native of our higher quality prairies is quite a sight in spring.   Easily spotted when little else is in bloom in the prairie or oak savanna.

    • Not a plant easily obtained. Not recommended for most gardens – just a fun plant worth knowing and looking for while hiking.
    • Always buy native species (especially rarer types) from known and reputable growers. Never dig plants (such as betony), as they will most likely drop dead upon arrival to your gardens!
    • Inquire for plant lists and growers whom are local.
    • Designer Ed Max is also cert naturalist plus cert arborist, and designs many gardens , woodlands, and other properties (both traditional and naturalistic) and meshes native with non-native species for wonderful and varied garden and landscape!