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. Great Fritillaries of the woodland gardens, mingling with native bluebells , A Downers Grove shade garden teeming with shade plants, native species, and bulbs , designed by Ed Max, Max’s Greener Places

    December 23, 2015 by MAX
    spring bulbs in the woodland gardens, and along the landscpae paths

    Great Fritillaries are not a common spring bulb for the perennial gardens and are rarely seen in our area. (CLICK on PIC)
    Plant in fall, in deep loamy soils, full or part sun, and that’s it!
    They stand high above the surrounding native bluebells seen here, and the bees love them!
    Seen here in Max’s woodland gardens in West Chicago.


  3. White Lady’s Slipper Orchid (Cypripedium can.)

    May 22, 2015 by MAX

    Another good year for these rare (threatened status in Ill.) orchids. I’ve had the uncommon chance to witness two large stands of these beauties in Dupage Co, and two days apart in two diff. areas!
    Fond of fens, and calcareous soils, these native orchids were once plentiful. Now, with few remnant prairies, we need to do all we can to protect their health through habitat quality, such as burning, and keeping invasive species at bay. Slow to reproduce, they also tend to get browsed by hungry deer.

    landscape design by ed max, maxlandscape.com,

    Wheaton native habitats, and landscapes, natural landscapes of the West Chicago area.


    Native landscapes of the western suburbs of Chicago are at your fingertips! Do not dig wild orchids. They can be bought from reputable on-line sources.
    Call us for landscape design services or for a quote to renovate your existing landscpaes and woodlands.


  4. Witch-hazel ‘Jelena’ (Hammemalis med.), unusual, very early to bloom, so interesting!

    March 9, 2014 by MAX
    shrubs, trees, arborist , maxlandscape.com

    The earliest of any blooming plant in this West Chicago garden. Click on pic to  enlarge.

    A very cool plant- you will not find any other witch-hazel or other species of plant that blooms earlier, none! Fragrant too. And the bonus is that fabulous red/burgundy fall color!  Vase shaped habit, likes a bit of shade, growing to 8′ x 8′. One of Ed’s favorites!

     

     


  5. Landscaping: West Chicago Il landscape renovation

    March 6, 2014 by MAX

    west chicago Il landscapers, maxlandscape.com

    We would remove the old concrete walks to replace, along with all the old block walls and shrubs.

    West Chicago landscapers, maxlandscape.com, Max's Greener Places

    The rich clay paver color complimented the house nicely!, also used Estate wall stones and caps for the walls.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    2011-12-06 11.03.15           Final look- though it is fall and the landscapes are dormant, this front yard has a much improved appearance.