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. An effort to preserve ancient oaks (and restore the woodlands)

    November 20, 2018 by MAX

    Ed Max is an arborist with Maxs Greener Places, of West Chicago, Wheaton area , maxlandscape.com

    We care deeply about the preservation and care of centuries -old oaks such as this behemoth (Bur oak) and the species that have coevolved among the oak biome. Ed Max is an arborist and naturalist involved in oak woodland projects in the Chicagoland Wilderness.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Woodland restorations begin in winter, planning and cleaning.


  3. Milkweed (time to rename this one- it ain’t no stinkin weed!) Its actually a fantastic plant for your garden, and it helps save an imperiled species. Whats not to like? Except the weed part in it name?

    July 23, 2018 by MAX

    Ed Max collects milkweed species and uses in designs where he can.

    One of our more common milkweeds, and a life line to the struggling monarch populations. Plant more milkweed! Maxlandscape plants milkweed and all the other pollinator species to benefit butterflys and pollinators.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    landacpe with natives, natural landscapes designs by Ed Max, West Chicago, Il.

    Butterfly milkweed at Bluff Spring Fen, Elgin (also an asclepias)

     

     

    more butterfly weed, is a milkweed. Very pretty! Maxlandscape is a natives design company

    Aesclepias, native milkweed near Belmont prairie

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    As the summer winds along on its way-too-fast trajectory, do not let the summer slip away without planting pollinator friendly species- and milkweed. The bugs and pollinators will appreciate it! And so will you!

    Contact us about a nice list of mega pollinators- as in plants that really draw them in. Some do more than others!

    Late summer is a good time to seed, or plant plugs, well before winter. And have fun!

     


  4. 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.


  5. An heirloom landscape for a historic home in old Wheaton, Il.

    May 5, 2017 by MAX

    And what a project it was!  Seen here some 3 to 4 years after. The azaleas,  native redbuds, and serviceberry  (Amelanchier) all add the bright spring colors of this garden. The stone wall was on site , just had to be discovered and dug , then reset! We love doing significant homes , and enjoy researching to discover the proper plant types to fit this home and its architecture. Designed in 1895 by famous architect of the day- Jarvis Hunt. Orig. part of the Chicago Golf Club.

     

    traditional and historic landscapes of Wheaton, Il., custom designs by ed max

    Vintage and historic landscaping in Wheaton Il, and its old neighborhoods

    Cottage gardens of Wheaton, Wheaton landscape design

    Historic home in Wheaton, Il., Vintage landscapes are now 3 yrs old, designed by Ed Max, landscape designer