1. 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]

     

     

     

     

     


  2. 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

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     


  3. What’s in bloom: April ephemerals (Bloodroot) in West Chicago Il

    April 11, 2014 by MAX

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    native landscapes , maxlandscape.com

    Once thought to have medicinal properties, quite toxic.

     

    Many parts of this fleeting beauty are toxic. The root exudes a red-orange juice, once used for dyes, and the plant was used for many medicinal applications. There is on-going  research as to it’s possible benefits. Once pollinated – all gone, sometimes in as little as a few days. Great attractant for early pollinators!


  4. Max’s Greener Places, Naperville, Il

    March 30, 2014 by MAX
    naperville il landscsapers, landscape services near naperville,il

    Species used to dry, harsh conditions such as geranium, nepetas, and dropseed (native grass), also good for pollinators!

    Give us a call or an email soon to discuss your landscaping needs for this year. A new patio, a shade garden, or a native landscapes – we can help! Call us @ 630 209 3005 or email @ hortus1@aol.com. We are avail. for consultation, arborist advice, and design ideas!

     


  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.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     


  6. A beach dwelling native of California

    March 3, 2014 by MAX
    maxlandscape.com

    Ice plant in winter color along the coast of Ca south of Half-Moon-Bay


  7. Oak Park /River Forest Landscapes:

    February 13, 2014 by MAX
    oak park landscapers, maxlandscape.com

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

    landscapers, oak park, maxlandscape.com

    another vintage landscape utilizing native and vintage plants, plus new intros, all to create a colorful and lively landscape

    We are the design/landscapers that have been creating wonderful, and fun landscape settings in Oak Park for years:

     


  8. A West Chicago garden progressional bloom (late winter through late spring:

    February 10, 2014 by MAX
    West Chicago landsacaper

    West Chicago landscapers choice here. Easy to establish, first to bloom!

    Witch hazels of the midwest

    Non native, but a beaut. Blooms in the dead of a West Chicago winter!

    name refers to the blood like sap in the root

    The earliest of native blooms in the Oak Brook, Hinsdale shade garden

    landscaping west chicago, maxlandscape.com

    A woodland of West Chicago Il

    An eye-catching flower, blooming in late May

    An eye-catching flower, blooming in late May

    Mid April in the West Chicago wildflower woodland garden, full on natives, and daffodil/.

    Mid April in the West Chicago wildflower woodland garden, full on natives, and daffodil/.

     

     

     

     

     


  9. The peril of our beloved Monarch

    November 30, 2013 by MAX

    PLANT, PRESERVE AND ADVOCATE FOR THE MILKWEED FAMILY (Aesculus),

    WHY?

     

    This plant family is the the only lifeline for the endangered Monarch butterfly. On it’s migration northward from the depleted forests where it winters to the wind-swept prairies of the Southwest, to the monoculture cornfields of the Midwest; the monarch is not doing well. And then there it the MONSANTO monster called ‘BT’ ready corn. This genetically altered corn hybrid creates pollen that, once adrift, kills all larvae, including that of the monarch butterfly. So, there you have it. In a decade or two, you may only see images of monarchs on a site like this. Let’s hope not.

    milkweed, (aesculus syriaca

    Fragrant, draws all osrts of unusual bugs, and of course-the Monarchs, which will lay eggs on this plant

    They may rebound.  But it is not looking so swell. From record populations (in Mexico during winter) in the hundreds of millions  documented for a millennia, to a paltry few million or less this year is alarming, as seen (or not) in the forests on one small but important area near central Mexico. There too the problems for this fragile creature are present: illegal logging.  Though slowed and perhaps even stopped, the damage has been done. It seems that the lack of dense forest cover in the mountains where they used to ‘ drape the trees’, has thus allowed colder temperature to penetrate- and a few winters have had devastating results.

    natives, miklkweed, aesculus, maxlandscape.com

    Monarch larvae on a milkweed plant seen in one the natural areas near Chicago .


  10. Whats in bloom: Native Downy Sunflower (Helianthus moll.)

    August 27, 2013 by MAX

    This late season prairie plant has downy grey-green foliage, and tends to colonize over time. Bloom time is late summer, and is a major draw for pollinators. A good plant all around, esp. in the back of the garden, or in the natural landscapes as seen here in West Chicago, Il.

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