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. Elasticity seen in various species during and after the heavy snows of late November 2018

    December 2, 2018 by MAX

    We all saw the effects of this crazy late fall blizzard: bent trees (almost strictly mulberry, boxelder and white pine were most impacted species), flattened arborvitae, snapped pine limbs, and lost power. It was a doozie of a system, not seen or experienced in the western suburbs of Chicago in some time!

    Seen here are pics of bent Bald Cypress (Taxodium dist.) , damaged White pine (P. strobus) and  much unfortunate damage to Arborvitae (Thuja), and redbud, which is a species obviously susceptible to snow lads as we saw in this last blast.

    landscaping for the changing climate with durable trees such as bald cypress. Native landscaper Ed Max using weltand species for native landscapes.

    Snow-laden cypress morning after the heavy winter storm of late fall, and the ability of tree species to withstand damage. Blad cypress are a nice species to consdider for wet areas of the yard, fond of moisture, but a versatile plant. Will grow large, so needs room!
    A deciduous evergreen tree species- loses it’s needle after turning a lovely copper color in fall.Native to southern Il where you can see taxodium over a 1000 years old at the Cache river preserve in the Shawnee N.F.

     

     

     

     

     


  4. A new design for a new home in Elmhurst: contemporary farmhouse style with a flattering landscape mix of vintage, traditional and native species

    July 11, 2018 by MAX

    New landscapes , oak park and elmhurst, riverside vintage style, designs by ed max, maxlandscape.com

    This lovely home built by Trinity Builders of Elmhurst, in a contemporary farmhouse style built in 2017. We followed up with the front landscape in fall of 2017, and the final back beds and permeable parking pad in 2018.

     

     

    Click on image to enlarge:

    Vintage Plant species used:

    Catalpa, lilac, juniper, roses, pagoda dogwood, azalea, peony and many species of perennials, some native. This mix promises to fill nicely , and soon offer screening and a vintage look to compliment the home’s style.

    new landscape designs for Elmhurst home, designs by Ed Max from West Chicago Il.,

    Vintage and heirloom plants used for this Elmhurst Il landscape design using Catalpa trees, junipers, natural stone steps and walls, a plus 3 hydrangea varieties for summer color, and loads of native and perennial bloomers.

     

    Updated pics to follow.


  5. Geneva and St. Charles springtime landscapes and perennial gardens.

    March 6, 2018 by MAX

    maxlandscape is a landscape company in St. Charles Il, landscape design in Geneva Il, ed max is a landscape designer and arborist from Geneva Il

    Springtime in the gardens of St. Charles , and early blooms of a vintage flower garden in Geneva Il, quite stunning.

    Native perennial gardens and stone walkways meandering through this Naperville landscape and woodland.

    Bluebells abloomin! Native wildflowers of Naperville IL, bluebells naturalize here in this Naperville Shade garden, with stone walkways

    Seen in this WA native wildflower of Wheaton Il shade garden seen here...and a  woodland native of Chicagoland forests, lowlands

    Beauty in the Bluebell bud about to open In this Wheaton Il vintage wildflower garden

    Blend early perennials, native wildflowers and shrubs such as azalea, and lilac with later blooming perennials for year-round interest and color. Landscaper from the Geneva and West Chicago area, Max’s Greener Places, and owner and arborist Ed Max can help out!


  6. Think spring (and plan for it now) New landscapes, garden designs, revisit that old shade garden

    February 14, 2018 by MAX

    And NOW is the time to get in touch! We offer landscape designs, patio layout, paver renovations, Woodland and natural landscapes, plus shade gardens, and perennial bed installations: Wheaton, Geneva, Naperville, Oak Park, and many more communities where our landscapes can be seen. ED is also an arborist, so we can talk tree health and plant health!

    maxlandscape.com, West Chicago native wildflower

    Pure white blooms in mid spring, native to Winfield, West Chicago woodland areas

     

    We offer native and shade garden designs, to liven up those darker corners of the property,


  7. 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.


  8. 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!

     

     


  9. Liveliest colors in fall blooming aster, and pollinators love them all!

    September 25, 2017 by MAX

    New England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae) is one of the Midwestern natives and late blooming. Showy purple blooms w an orange eye. Deer resistant too! Grows to 3 or 4 ft, good for background , rear of sun beds.

    Also very drought resistant. Bees love them, as do monarchs which seek out all aster for late season food source.

    native species, natural landscapes by Ed Max, maxlandscape.com

    Late blooming native perennial, hardy, offers some of the best color in the late gardens.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Contact us soon for advice on late season colors, designs, and pollinator friendly habitats!

     

     

    native aster, woods aster of Wheaton landscapes

     

    Contact us

     


  10. 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.