1. 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.


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

    May 2, 2017 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.

     

     


  3. Buttonbush (a native shrub for wet areas) Oakbrook landscape and wetland seen:

    February 26, 2017 by MAX

    And (as seen here), a butterfly magnet. Cool bloom in summer, drab yellow in fall. Masses in sunnier wets and you’re on to something interesting and beneficial to the local pollinators . Landscape with natives, as seen in this Oak Brook landscape  and wetland area.

    Bee gardens, native plantings by Ed Max, arborist and naturalist.

    In this Oakbrook landscape project we added wetland tolerant and native species, plus more traditional species- all of which help out the local butterfly and insect populations. Call for a native or Bee garden today!

     

    Contact us soon for a design, or consultation and list of native species for your gardens!

     


  4. 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.

     


  5. Fine foliage of the Maidenhair Fern (seen in this Wheaton Il. shade garden)

    January 2, 2017 by MAX
    Woodland species, native ferns of the Chicagoland area, native landscapes by Ed Max and max's greener places

    Maidenhair fern has an unusual leaf, with black stems. Landscape designer Ed Max’s favorite native fern.

     

    Contact Max’s Greener Places for spring designs and installations!

     


  6. Landscapes of 2015 part II, Oak Park Il. landscape designs, by Ed Max of Max’s Greener Places and maxlandscape.com

    December 24, 2015 by MAX
    Landscape design, River Forest and Oak Park, by Ed Max, landscaper

    This complete redo was done in 14-15, and is now filling in nicely! You enter the white birch grove on a paver walkway, through seasonal beds of native dropseeds, roses, azalea and more.

    Seasonal bed care and mulch are necessary items, which we do in spring and all season long.


  7. Our Oak Park landscapes 2015 (by Max’s Greener Places, Ed Max)

    December 22, 2015 by MAX
    landscapes and patios design, oak park, il, maxlandscape.com

    Oak Park Il vintage looking pavers utilized to compliment the new addition to the rear of this 110+ yr old home.

    Copthorne pavers evoke a look of vintage Oak Park and River Forest of the early 1900's.

    Copthorne pavers evoke a feel of an earlier time in Oak Park and River Forest. This clay paver holds up well under our Chicagoland climate.

     

    Winter is the time to begin consultation and designs for your new landscapes in 2016. Call or email Ed now!


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

    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!!!!

     

     


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

    December 21, 2015 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.

     

     

     

     

     


  10. 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.