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. Coldest, snowiest, wettest fall in a century!

    December 3, 2018 by MAX

    Read on

    PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
    NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CHICAGO/ROMEOVILLE IL
    1332 PM CST SAT DEC 1 2018

    …A Look Back at the Climate for Meteorological Fall (September,
    October, November) 2018 for Chicago and Rockford…

    At Chicago, the average high temperature for the fall season was
    59.3 degrees, which is 2.5 degrees below the 1981 to 2010 average.
    The average low temperature was 44.8 degrees, which is 1.6 degrees
    above normal. The mean temperature for the season was 52.1 degrees,
    which is 0.4 degrees below normal.

    A total of 11.68 inches of precipitation was recorded during this
    past fall, which is 2.17 inches above normal. There was a total of
    12.7 inches of snow recorded at Chicago, which is 11.3 inches above
    normal.

    Records established or tied during the fall months:

    September: Record daily high temperature of 93 degrees on the 20th.

    October: Record daily precipitation of 1.56 inches on the 1st.

    November: Record daily precipitation of 1.20 inches on the 26th.

    At Rockford, the average high temperature was 58.1 degrees, which is
    3.8 degrees below normal. The average low temperature was 40.8
    degrees, which is 0.3 of a degree below normal. The mean temperature
    for the season was 49.4 degrees, which is 2.1 degrees below normal.

    A total of 13.02 inches of precipitation was recorded during this
    past fall, which was 4.42 inches above normal. In addition, a total
    of 15.8 inches of snow was recorded, which is 14 Inches above normal.

    Records established or tied during the fall months:

    September: None.

    October: Record daily precipitation of 1.65 inches on the 1st.
    Record daily low temperature of 22 degrees tied on the 22nd.
    Record daily precipitation of 1.36 inches on the 30th.

    November: Record daily snowfall of 1.8 inches on the 9th.
    Record daily snowfall of 2.1 inches on the 17th.
    Record daily snowfall of 11.7 inches on the 25th.

    Record Snowfall of 15.8 inches for the fall season.

    (Thanks to the NWS)

     


  4. Illinois State Champion White Oak (Quercus a.) near McNabb, Il.

    May 2, 2017 by MAX

    What a monster! To stand near this great plant is awesome! Thought to be at least 350 to 400 yrs old. SW of Starved Rock in the entrance to a farmhouse, you too can see it, near the roadside.

    native oaks, record size trees of Illinois

    Record size state champ, White oak. A very lg. tree.

     

    Oaks are an important species in the Midwest and in the Chicagoland area. Encourage oak planting. Many species rely on the oak for food and shelter. The native population of most oak species is on the decline due to disease, changing climate and especially due to invasive species such as buckthorn and Asian honeysuckle. Little to no regeneration of oaks means that as the large specimens as een here decline, we stand to lose a true legacy tree of the Midwest. Red , bur and white oak were the oak species most common a century ago, when fire was a common occurrence on the prairie.

    Today, with lack of fire, they are losing ground. So plant an oak today!

     


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

    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. A woodland garden comes into bloom

    April 30, 2017 by MAX

     

     

    wheaton il landscape comapnies, wheaotn il designers

    Shade gardens and wooded landscape renovations. Adding in azaleas, redbud, native perennials, and hydrangeas.

     

    shade gardens , bleeding heart,

    shade gardens , bleeding heart,


  7. Fine foliage of the Maidenhair Fern (seen in this Wheaton Il. shade garden)

    January 2, 2017 by MAX

    Woodland species, native ferns of the Chicagoland area, native landscapes by Ed Max and max's greener places

    Maidenhair fern has an unusual leaf, with black stems. Landscape designer Ed Max’s favorite native fern.

     

    Contact Max’s Greener Places for spring designs and installations!

     


  8. Snowdrops make an early winter appearance in this West Chicago wooded landscape!

    January 31, 2016 by MAX

    native landscapes of Wheaton, West Chicago landscape design, ed max design guy

    West Chicago landscape with Snowdrops peeking through the snow as of late January of 2016!

     

    Landscaping in the woodlands and shaded areas can be challenging. With the right plant combos, there will be color from late winter through fall.

    Call or email now for a landscape consultation and design.

     

     


  9. Fire in the natural landscape: essential

    April 16, 2015 by MAX

    native lanndscapes and management by Ed max, maxlandscape.com

    An incredible remnant patch of virgin prairie, smack dab in the middle of an otherwise drab and industrialized area next to a very old pioneer cemetery.

     

    Fire, herbicide and labor are the only things we have to save gems filled with a rare habitat such as this virgin patch of prairie. Without intervention, this prairie would be overrun with invasive species, thus shading out the incredible array of plant species that can be found in St. Stephens Prairie, near the cemetery. Not often do we find a patch of undisturbed land from the 1800’s and perhaps long before that!

     

     


  10. Bloodroot: a native of fleeting beauty

    April 10, 2015 by MAX

     

     

     

    native plants, in a woodland landscape of West Chicago Il, maxlandscape.com,  Ed Max arborist, landscape design in Wheaton, Il

    A native wildflower – Bloodroot ( Sanguineria), has a bright daisy like bloom, very short bloom period, but well worth the effort to establish.

     

     

    landscape design near West Chicago and Wheaton il,

    Just emerging native bloodroot, a wonderful addition to the early Shade garden

    Native wildflowers – also call ‘Spring Ephemerals, inhabit our better quality woodlands, especially oak woodlands, where these fleeting blooms have evolved under the boughs of oaks since the last of the glaciers receded some 10,000 years ago. Their moji is to sprout, bloom, germinate, collect energy for their reserves, and then decline to dormancy: all before the elaves fully emerge above! Whew! Hence the reason to get out into your local oak grove to witness their fleeting beauty!