1. Native trees of Illinois: The Famous White oak of McNab Illinois. The State Champion oak tree – and what a tree it is!

    January 18, 2019 by MAX
    White oak state champion tree seen by Ed Max in McNab Il, SW of Starved Rock.
    An incredible specimen. And the photo does not do justice. This White Oak 
    (native to Illinois and the Midwest ) is the largest of its species, 
    nearly 120 ft across!
    The white oak is a durable oak, and can grow to immense size as
    seen here. White oak or Quercus alba has a small acorn, and helps
    to support 100’s of species ; from mammals to fungi, to insects.
    And important species that we should be using much more in our
    urban and suburban landscapes, where space allows.
    A species for the future:
    As the climate continues to warm, the White oak may be a suitable landscape tree (native to the south), able to tolerate a tougher, drier, warmer climate going forward.





    Plant an oak today! Call Arborist Ed Max to set up a consultation on caring for your oaks, or for installing a few new red, bur or white oak, in your landscapes.


  2. The newest Illinois state champion tree: the lg. 200 year old Cottonwood near Byron Il. (plus the previous state champ…the giant bald cypress of the Shawnee, est to be nearly 1250 yrs old)

    January 3, 2019 by MAX

    The Champ- a huge, two-stemmed Cottonwood (Champ trees are determined by their height, trunk circumference, and crown spread (points x 3 categories) which totals to make this giant the largest tree in the state of Illinois.

    A Native Cottonwood- and largest tree of Illinois. There are dozens of native trees in Ill, and few grow the size of Cottonwoods, or as fast.
    Quite a giant; situated in a protected valley, near gravel prairies, and wind swept hilltops. An easy trip from the Chicagoland area. That’s me, Perspective: That’s me, Ed, in the pic….and Im 6ft 4″.

    Cottonwoods (Populus Deltoides) can grow to enormous size and usually the tallest trees of the urban forests and wilderness areas of the Chicagoland region. Perching birds (eagles, hawks, owls) can often be seen in tall cottonwoods as they are great vantage points for spying prey, and awesome roosts!
    Fond of water, they are usually found along stream beds or low-lying areas that rarely dry. Also found in the arroyos of the SW, and the wetlands of the east….a vast territory for this species.

    New clones of cottonwood can be found for sale, though usually male, so as not to create the dreaded ‘cotton’ plumes of summer.

    Discovered a few years ago, near the Bald Hill Prairie thus knocking out the Cache river Bald Cypress (seen below) ….another serious giant, found in the watery backwaters in the Cache (the everglades of the north) in the Shawnee N.F..

    The Cache swamps are the northerly- most naturally occuring wetlands containing bald cypress and tupelo in North America. Taxodium can be found all the way to the keys in So. Florida, and along the gulf. Their range can be extended north into southern Wisconsin if placed in the right conditions.

    In the Chicagoland area; cypress are popular as street trees, landscape specimens and a great tree for wet areas.

    They can grow for a millenia!

    Bald cypress are fond of water- and will grow for centuries, or perhaps thousands of years if lucky.
    State champ bald cypress Il, 36 ft circ. 1200 yr old! Seen here with some from the Illinois Native Plant Society Annual gathering in 2016.

  3. 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.!

     

     

     


  4. 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!

     

     


  5. Help out the local environment by incorporating native species such as Pale Coneflower (Echinachea), a native species of our prairies.

    January 5, 2017 by MAX

    native echinacea is along lived and easy to grow native species, good for poliinators such as butterfly and bees,

    Pale echinachea or pale coneflower is an easy to grow native wildflower, found in our higher quality remnant prairies of the Midwest. Easy to plug into your sunny landscapes- good for native bees and butterflies.

     

    Native species require little if any fertilizer, little water (once established), no need for pesticides, and are a huge benefit for local and endangered insect and butterfly species- such as our imperiled monarch butterfly. Simply incorporate such species into a sunny bed in your yard. Contact us for further info.

     


  6. An increasingly rare wildflower seen in this native wildflower garden in Oak Park Il, (pic by landscape designer and naturalist Ed Max @ maxlandscape.com

    December 22, 2015 by MAX

    OaBrook Il landscaping beds full of natibe species and woodland perennials.

    Close relative of the colorful Bleeding Heart, but native and becoming rarer in our increasingly degraded ecosystems of the Chicago region. Rare plants are a passion of Ed Max, and restoring their habitats is Ed’s mission as well as his landscape company.

    Plant in spring in a rich soil, in full shade or part sun.  All Spring Ephemerals such as this dicentra tend to appear early, and vanish just as quickly. With luck, proper soils, and moisture- you will get this cool wildflower to reproduce and naturalize, as it has done here in this Oak Park, Il. landscape  (designed by Ed Max of Max’s Greener Places).

    Contact us now to plan your wildflower garden. Good for you and the pollinators!!!!

     

     


  7. Hardy Cactus in the Chicagoland landscape. One of designer and naturalist Ed Max’s favorite native perennials; as seen in this Oak Park Il prairie landscape

    December 21, 2015 by MAX

    Opuntia (Prickly Pear cactus) is a native of sandier habitats within the Chicagoland Wilderness. Adding them into your drier, sunnier beds will add a blast of lemon yellow blooms in late spring, followed by the edible fruit in late summer. Super hardy, just averse to wet conditions, so placement is important.

    landscape with natives , Ed Max is an arborist, naturalist and landscape designer from Wheaton, and Naperville Il.

    Native, spiny, and edible cactus in the landscapes of West Chicago, and St. Charles. Landscape designer Ed Max uses this unusual native often. Easy to care for- just be sure its in a well drained and sunny location! This perennial can be  part of your drier locations too with little fuss.

    Bloom time: late spring , early summer. Easy to care for, just a bit spiny!

     

     


  8. Destructive Pine sawflies on Mugho Pine in Wheaton Il. Contact certified arborist Ed Max for consultation on your trees and shrubs.

    by MAX

    Arborist Ed Max of West Chicago Il

    Pine sawfly can strip your mugho and scotch pine foliage. Feeding on last years foliage will leave the plants  looking ragged. Planting species that are not on the sawfly menu helps as does being on alert in early spring and removal before the damage is done. A hard spray of water, shaking the shrubs, or applying BT ( a natural bacteria)Contact certified arborist Ed Max through the contact us button above for advice on your landscapes soon.

     

     

     

     

     


  9. The benefits of fire on this small remnant prairie in Carol Stream, Il, lit by naturalist Ed Max and crew of Max’s Greener Places

    by MAX

    caring for rare plants and controlled burns by Ed Max of West Chicago, Il., prairie plants and fire.

    Fire is the key ingredient to maintaining these few prairie remnants we have left in the Chicagoland area, like this one near Wheaton and Carol Stream IL,
    Experienced naturalist and landscape designer Ed Max led his team on this annual burn. As seen in this picture…it was a success!
    Fire keeps the invasives at bay, and recycles the old growth and debris.
    See maxlandcape.com for more on caring for your open spaces.

    Contact Ed Max for advice and ideas for your prairie, and adding native  species to your landscape palette.

     

     

     

     


  10. Ancient white pine of the U.P. of MI. (the Porkies). White pine in the landscapes of the Midwest.

    October 28, 2015 by MAX

    Within part of a lg swath of old growth forest dwells giants:
    white pine (P.strobus) at 150 ft.n 400 year plus yrs old, 300 yr old Hemlock (Tsuga can.), Massive Yellow birch,Striped maple, and majestic Sugar maples.
    Seen here along the Little Carp Trail Fall 2015

    native pines in our landscapes of the Wheaton area, vergreens and poine are important parts of a good landscape design

    150 ft plus 400 yr old + white pine pinus strobus