1. 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.

  2. Massive White Pine (P.strobus) in winter (click on pic)

    February 8, 2015 by MAX

    Arborsit info, maxlandscape.com, pine trees in the landscapes, max's greener places, Ed Max, arborist

    A grand specimen White pine, on the road close to Princeton’s cemetery, where the state’s largest pine exists.

    Pine and other evergreen materials add so much in our Midwestern winters and the landscapes. Seen here is a grand white pine dwarfing this  (late)  1800’s era home  in Princeton, Il. It would be my guess that this specimen has to be close to the age of the house, making it at least 125-150 yrs old.

     

     

     

     

     


  3. and …..more on those nasty invasives …..

    January 27, 2015 by MAX

    native landscapes by max's greener places, winfield, il, maxlandscape.com, landscaper in west chicago

    Snowfall on the unfrozen river in January. Again, invasive buckthorn can be clearly seen along the shoreline-(the low heavily flocked shrubs)  plus super invasive Reed Canary grass dominating the shoreline, with floodplain tree species rising above.  Off Geneva Rd, the west branch of the DuPage River.

    From Wiki info:

    Rhamnus cathartica is a deciduous shrub or small tree growing up to 10 m tall, with grey-brown bark and spiny branches. The leaves are elliptic to oval, 2.5–9 cm long and 1.2–3.5 cm broad; they are green, turning yellow in autumn, and are arranged somewhat variably in opposite to subopposite pairs or alternately. The flowers are yellowish-green, with four petals; they are dioecious and insect pollinated. The fruit is a globose black drupe 6–10 mm diameter containing two to four seeds; it is mildly poisonous for people, but readily eaten by birds, which disperse the seeds in their droppings.
    The species was originally named by Linnaeus as Rhamnus catharticus.

    The seeds and leaves are considered toxic to humans and animals, causing stomach cramps and laxative effects thought to serve a function in seed dispersal. The chemical compounds responsible for this laxative effect are anthraquinone[9] and emodin cathartica as the genus name Rhamnus is of feminine gender.

    Rhamnus cathartica is shade-tolerant, moderately fast-growing and short-lived. It is a food plant of the Brimstone butterfly. The sulphur-yellow males are indicative of the plant’s presence.

    Allelopathy-
    Secondary compounds, particularly emodin, have been found in fruit, leaves, and bark of the plant which may protect the plant from insects, herbivores, and pathogens.[12] Emodin present in R. cathartica fruit may serve purposes of prevention of early consumption, as it is found most in unripe fruits, which allows seeds to reach maturity before being dispersed. Birds and mice significantly avoid eating unripe fruits, and if forced to ingest emodin or unripe fruit, the animals regurgitate the meal or produce loose, watery stools.
    Allelopathic effects of exudates from R. cathartica leaf litter, roots, bark, leaves, and fruit may reduce germination of other plant species in the soil. Soils in buckthorn dominated areas are higher in nitrogen and carbon than normal soils, which speed up decomposition rates of leaf litter.This can result in bare patches of soil being formed and R. cathartica performs well in such disturbed habitats, so this may be adaptive for the setting of its seed.

    The species is naturalised and invasive in parts of North America.[3][14][12] R. cathartica has a competitive advantage compared to native trees and shrubs in North America because it leafs out before native species.[15] The early emergence of their leaves in the spring and can shade out the growth of native plants. 27-35% of the annual carbon gain in R. cathartica comes from photosynthesis occurring before the leaves of other plants emerge. [9] Soil in woodlands dominated by R. cathartica was higher in nitrogen, pH, and water content than soil in woodlands relatively free of R. cathartica,[16][17] probably because R. cathartica has high levels of nitrogen in its leaves and these leaves rapidly decompose.
    R. cathartica is also associated with invasive European earthworms (Lumbricus sp.) in the northern Midwest of North America.[18] Removing R. cathartica led to a decrease of invasive earthworm biomass of around 50%.[19]

    Control methods[edit]
    It is difficult to control because it sprouts vigorously and repeatedly from the root collar following cutting, girdling, or burning.[21] Herbicide application to newly cut stumps is a popular and effective control method. However, seeds stay viable in the soil for several years before sprouting, so repeated treatments and long-term monitoring of infested areas is required.[22] Garlon and Tordon, as well as their derivatives, have been found to be effective chemical means. Roundup can be used but is less reliable. [9] An application of these chemicals in early winter reduces the risk of negatively impacting non-target species, as most have gone dormant by this time. It is also easier to spot infestations at this time of the year, as its leaves stay out an average of 58 days longer than native plants.[9]
    Mechanical control methods such as pulling and chopping of plants are more environmentally friendly, but also very time consuming. Plants with stems less than half an inch in diameter or less than a meter tall can easily be pulled, but pulling risks disturbing the roots of adjacent, native plants and harming them as well.[22] Propane-weed torches may also be used to kill seedlings and they will generally not re-sprout if burned in spring or early summer.[9]

     

     

     

     

     


  4. Kit: the sly fox of 2014

    January 13, 2015 by MAX

    wildlife and ed max, maxlandscape, max's greener places

    Aptly (?) named her Kit. She just showed up one day- came out of the woods. She hung out til Thanksgiving, then ‘poof’ …she vanished

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     


  5. Scarlet Indian Paintbrush (Castilleja coc.)

    October 8, 2014 by MAX

    Native plants, landscape species, natural landscapes of beaver island, ed max, naturalist

    A semi-parasitic plant, uncommon, with fiery foliage (not blooms) in late summer

     

     

     


  6. A new landscape for a historic Wheaton, Il. Jarvis Hunt home

    March 18, 2014 by MAX
    A vintage landscape for a vintage Wheaton home!

     

    Left: mid 90’s landscapes

     

    OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

     

    landscapes of wheaotn, il, maxlandscape.com   Then the fires of 2011.

    Wheaton Il landscape company, maxlandscape.com

    Landscape renovations underway: we pull all the old landscape, several invasive  Norway maple are culled to allow more light. We also rebuilt the old flagstone wall with ‘found’ stone- buried by years of organic debris.

     

    Wheaton landscaping services

    Another view from the west. This landscape should compliment this grand dame with several redbuds with their pink blossom in spring, plus serviceberry, white pine for cover and winter green, sumac, dwf. coral roses, Everlow yew, azalea, and more…

     

     

     


  7. Vintage landscapes, native stone, Oak Park, Il

    March 11, 2014 by MAX

    oak park landscapers, maxlandscape.com

    Utilized many of the existing plants to renovate this charming old home


  8. Unique landscapes & garden designs that include native species, heirlooms

    March 10, 2014 by MAX

    native landscapes, maxlandscape.com

    Native white oak, sumac, switch grasses, sedges, plus geranium and nepetas  as seen in this sun-drenched, dry xeriscape.  Even the stone is local!

    native landscsapes, designs by max's greener places


  9. A Naperville cottage garden

    by MAX

    landscapers, naperville il, oak park il landscaping

    All mixed perennial patches need updating from time to time.

    A proper cottage garden begins with the setting: a charming home, a sun filled area, and a variety of plantings and bloom times. With all these ingredients- we have a chance to make something special!

     

     


  10. 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.