Plant Identification Training August 2018

Thursday, August 30th from 9:00 am to 3:30 pm – Lemont, IL

A hands-on lecture plus field training session for anyone interested in learning how to identify native and non-native plants found in the Chicago region, such as landscape contractors, landscape architects, environmental consultants, or interested enthusiasts. This all-day course covers methods for identifying plants found in both wetland and upland habitats, including regional books and websites, how to use a dichotomous key, tips for taking useful photos, and how to use iNaturalist. Participants will learn common terminology for describing leaves and flowers and gain an introduction to the major invasive species, common native plants, and largest plant families in our area. Led by cassi saari, ecologist with ecology + vision and Evan Barker, Quality Control Manager and Prescribed Fire Coordinator for Pizzo & Associates. Learn more

Milkweeds for Monarchs

monarch1Are you ready to welcome butterflies? Monarch populations are doing better, but they could still use some help! Try planting milkweed this year and be rewarded with monarchs and more. Their showy flower clusters also attract moths, skippers, bees, and beneficial wasps. Set your landscape to buzzing with milkweed!

In general, milkweeds are prairie plants, so plan on them putting on a show in summer, when butterflies are most prevalent. Look for monarch eggs and larvae and be tolerant of damaged foliage as the caterpillars feed. Reduce or eliminate pesticides and herbicides when you are planting for pollinators. There are several species of milkweed native to Illinois. We’ve chosen five favorites that will take root and thrive in full sun.

Asclepias incarnata or swamp milkweed

As you might guess from its common name, swamp milkweed can thrive in moist soils, but it will happily grow in average soil, too. Reaching about four feet high, it makes a good weaver plant in a garden bed as it tends to send up a single stem or a small cluster. Swamp milkweed flowers are deep rose in color and are held in a flat cluster beginning in August and blooming through September.

Asclepias sullivantii or prairie milkweed

Prairie milkweed is a shorter, stouter, less aggressive cousin to common milkweed at about three feet high. It boasts bright pink globular flower clusters held upright near the top of the stem. Lightly fragrant, it blooms June through August. Tolerates a wide range of medium moist garden soils. Named for William Starling Sullivant, a 19th century American botanist, prairie milkweed features smooth seed pods for winter interest.

Asclepias syriaca or common milkweed

A classic prairie plant and often found along roadsides, common milkweed can reach up to five feet high. Its hanging clusters of deeply fragrant lavender flowers bloom June through August. Tolerant of a variety of soils and light shade, common milkweed can spread readily from seed or rhizomes. The dried seed pods are valued for winter arrangements.

Asclepias tuberosa or butterflyweed

Butterflyweed is a showstopper in the landscape. Brilliant orange flowers bloom atop two foot clumps of bright green foliage from June through August. This milkweed requires sharply drained soils and will not tolerate heavy mulch or wet sites. Combine with Echinacea pallida for a striking contrast of vibrant color.  Enjoy its slender seed pods in winter.

Asclepias verticillata or whorled milkweed

Whorled milkweed is a lovely addition to any garden. It’s delicate, needle-like foliage reaches between one and two feet high and weaves through other plants. Small clusters of creamy white flowers bloom June through September. Plant this where you can enjoy its subtle beauty.

Pizzo 30! A Summer of Educational Events

We are celebrating 30 years as the leading ecological restoration firm in the Midwest. Jack Pizzo started his company in 1988 as a way to do everything he could to help our environment. We’ve come a long way since then and want to share it with you!

Join us this summer as we celebrate with a series of events where we share our knowledge and together we experience what Mother Nature has given us.

We’ve planned bus tours, nature walks, and community association seminars. Join us!

Learn more about our Pizzo 30! events.

Going Native: Backyard Native Landscaping

Saturday, July 14 at 10:00 am – Southwest Michigan

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Learn the many benefits of “going native” at this seminar

Join Chikaming Open Lands to learn the art and science of creating a sustainable native landscape in your own backyard!

Learn the many benefits of “going native” at the beautiful restored prairie on the lakefront property of Peter and Jeanie Van Nice. Participants will be guided by expert environmental consultant, Jack Pizzo, in sourcing varieties of native grasses and wildflowers, creating a landscape plan, and  selecting suitable native ornamental substitutes for some popular non-native (and potentially invasive) flowers and shrubs. The session includes a walking tour of the Van Nice’s prairie.

Learn more and register here

Stewardship: What does it mean?

You may have noticed the trucks and crews of Pizzo & Associates, Ltd. out and about in natural areas. The beautiful native plantings in common areas require regular stewardship to keep them looking their best. What is stewardship? We define it as the routine actions required to sustain the aesthetic and ecological integrity of a restored natural area. This includes weed management, prescribed fire, and monitoring. Traditional landscapes are maintained; natural areas are stewarded.

Some of the activities we perform on your site include:

  • Herbicide application – We use a targeted approach to kill only the weeds, not the wildflowers. Our staff is trained to recognize weed species and stop them in their tracks.
  • Monitoring – We track plant diversity, wildlife present, and water quality to ensure that the ecology of your area is in peak condition.
  • Mowing – The first few years of a natural areas establishment, mowing is essential for controlling annual weeds.
  • Prescribed fire – Fire is a key tool for keeping weeds at bay, eliminating woody saplings, and encouraging plant diversity.
  • Seed collection and supplemental seeding – Sometimes supplemental planting is needed to establish particular grasses or wildflowers.

These specialized activities keep your natural areas looking great and functioning efficiently.

 

Plant Identification Training July 2018

Plant Identification Training

Thursday, July 12th from 9:00 am to 3:30 pm – Leland, IL

Wednesday, July 18th from 9:00 am to 3:30 pm – Shabbona and Leland, IL

A hands-on lecture plus field training session for anyone interested in learning how to identify native and non-native plants found in the Chicago region, such as landscape contractors, landscape architects, environmental consultants, or interested enthusiasts. This all-day course covers methods for identifying plants found in both wetland and upland habitats, including regional books and websites, how to use a dichotomous key, tips for taking useful photos, and how to use iNaturalist. Participants will learn common terminology for describing leaves and flowers and gain an introduction to the major invasive species, common native plants, and largest plant families in our area. Led by cassi saari, ecologist with ecology + vision and Evan Barker, Quality Control Manager and Prescribed Fire Coordinator for Pizzo & Associates.

Learn more.

Spring Planning for Fall Burns

In the midst of spring, you might not think of autumn and the controlled burn season. However, spring is the perfect time to plan for your fall prescribed fire project. With permitting taking up to 90 days, it’s a good idea to get a jump on the process.

Why prescribed fire?

  • Control weedy tree and shrub saplings, some invasive plants, and clean up the site for ease of control later in the season.
  • Stimulate the growth of native plants by getting sunlight to the soil and encouraging greater diversity of plants, insects, and animals.
  • Kills ticks.

The Illinois Prescribed Fire Council recently completed a study finding that in Illinois, not enough natural areas are being burned and those that are should be burned more frequently. With proper management using controlled burns as one of the tools, our natural areas become more rich and vibrant.

At The Pizzo Group, safety is our top priority! We don’t cut corners when it comes to the welfare of people and property. Every crew member and supervisor is trained and certified.

  • All Illinois burn sites must have an Illinois EPA Open Burn Permit. Let us handle your paperwork!
  • Burn permits average 30 to 90 days for processing. NOW is the time to start the process.
  • A map of the burn area must be submitted with the application. A site visit is a required element of any burn plan.
  • Our companies are licensed and insured.
  • All projects are supervised by a Certified Prescribed Burn Manager who carries out the actual burn in addition to managing the site’s Burn Plan.

Let’s plan your prescribed fire today!

Nature Walk at The Monte Bello Estate May 2018

Nature Walk at The Monte Bello Estate

Thursday, May 31st with start times at 10:00 am and 12:00 pm – Lemont, Illinois
Free

Join us for a nature walk at the picturesque Monte Bello Estate in Lemont, IL

Come explore a newly re-discovered woodland remnant with us in Lemont, IL at The Monte Bello Estate. This amazing wedding venue includes slightly degraded remnant savanna and woodland. These kinds of remnants are very rare in Illinois (for example, less than 0.07% of prairies in the state are considered high quality remnants) but this one is a special find.

On the walk, you’ll see nearly 200 native species and perhaps even a rare bird in a picturesque setting. The walk will be led by Evan Barker, one of our native plant experts. This is a great opportunity to learn more about restoration and what The Pizzo Group can do for you. Light refreshments will be available.

Space is limited. Register here.