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. 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.

     

     

     

     


  4. 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.

     


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

    May 2, 2017 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!

  6. 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.

     


  7. A unique (and vintage) landscape design and renovation

    February 8, 2016 by MAX
    Vintage landscapes in River Forest and Oak Park. Landscaping in Oak Park.

    This was a fun project- we began with a clean slate here in leafy River Forest. Deep rich soils help to establish this varied palette of shrubs and perennials, seen here in its 3rd season.


  8. 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!

     

     


  9. 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.

     

     

     

     

     


  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.