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One of the best times to correct and improve the shape of your plants is during the winter!


Many people feel that once we enter the month of December, our landscape responsibilites get put on the shelf until the following spring. Based on the fact that leaves are shed and plants go dormant, it is believed that there is not much that can be done during the winter months. Although this dormancy period eliminates the need for weekly mowing and trimming, it opens up an opportunity to dramatically imrpove our landscape plants.

Dormant Pruning involves selective removal of reduction of...




Think back to November 19th, 2015 when weather stations announced an early snowfall in Chicagoland. The initial forecast was described as a rain event that would change to snow leaving a couple of inches in its wake. The result was...



Thursday, Nov. 19th: An approaching storm that will produce accumulating snowfall Friday night into Saturday. Snow accumulation on pavements Friday night through Saturday afternoon is expected to be 2-4”. Higher amounts may be seen on grassy areas.  

Friday, Nov. 20th:Accumulating snowfall through tonight and much of the afternoon hours on Saturday. Total snowfall on pavement will be 3-6” with 2-4” near Lake Michigan. Snow will initially be wet to start then slowly transition to dry during the day on Saturday.  

Saturday, Nov 21st:Ongoing wet snow to continue today ending in the late afternoon hours. Additional slushy accumulations of 1-2” on pavements with some local higher amounts possible.   


Friday, Nov 20th (2:18pm): Snow developing this evening, could be mixed with snow and rain. Snow will stick north and west (9-11pm) and after midnight near the lake. Snow will gradually diminish Saturday. Most snow accumulation 3am-11am.  

Friday, Nov 20th (10:30pm):Radar shows heaviest snow in McHenry and Lake Counties where 3-6” has already fallen. Expect a steady but slower accumulation over the next few hours. Towards morning the snow is expected to get heavy again with another 2-4” on pavement, heaviest amounts to the north and west of Chicago.  

Saturday, Nov 21st (3:44am): The Storm has another 6-7 hours to finish crossing the area. There will be periods of light to moderate snow but accumulations will be low due to the warm ground temperatures  

Saturday, Nov 21st (8:55am):Ongoing wet snow. Heaviest this morning and ending late this afternoon. Additional slushy 1-2” accumulations for inland areas with locally higher amounts possible. Temperature will remain steady in the low 30’s and drop into the teens overnight. Freeze-back is possible tonight. 





Start Time


End Time


Actual Snow




6:56pm (Fri)

5:01pm (Sat)


3-6”/ 1-2”

Lake Forest

6:56pm (Fri)

5:01pm (Sat)


3-6”/ 1-2”

North Chicago

6:56pm (Fri)

5:01pm (Sat)


3-6”/ 1-2”


6:16pm (Fri)

5:38pm (Sat)


3-6”/ 1-2”

Carol Stream

5:44pm (Fri)

5:03pm (Sat)


3-6”/ 1-2”

O’Hare Airport

6:16pm (Fri)

5:38pm (Sat)



Midway Airport

6:26pm (Fri)

6:12pm (Sat)



Rockford Airport

3:50pm (Fri)

3:13pm (Sat)




Oak Brook, IL - Four members of the Church family have donated $25,000 apiece to fund a $100,000 scholarship in the name of Denny R. Church. Denny was the longest serving ILCA President beginning in 1971 and ending in 1975. Immediately after his term, he was named ILCA Man of the Year in 1976.

The scholarship will be conferred annually by the Illinois Landscape Contractors Education & Charitable Organization (ILCECO). ILCECO is the Private Foundation of the Illinois Landscape Contractors Association (ILCA). The scholarship was organized by Bruce Church of Balanced Environments in Old Mill Creek. Balanced Environments have been members since 2005.

The Denny R. Church scholarship will be presented to deserving students in full and part-time horticulture-related degree programs. Denny passed away in 2013 after a long career in the nursery and landscape industry.

Denny R. Church was an industry treasure who always offered his expertise to those in need. He was a green industry icon who built his career on a foundation of ethics, craftmanship, and respect. Now, a new generation of green industry professionals will be beneficiaries of Denny's involvement in the industry as were so many other professionals across the years. Having these donations go towards funding a scholarship carries on Denny's tradition and his legacy.

"It seems fitting that Denny Church should be remembered for his continual efforts to make our profession better," said ILCA and ILCECO President Rusty Maulding. "Better, by attracting the best new industry professionals that will perpetuate our industry's amazing dedication, passion and talent. Thank you to the Church family for this thoughtful and inspiring gift."

"This scholarship is a fitting and lasting tribute to Denny Church," said ILCA Past President and former employee of Church Landscaping Kenny Gallt. "He gave so much of himself to other and the industry. Denny was renowned for making other people feel good and for helping others be the best they could be. His respect for educating those in the landscape industry will live on in this scholarship."

The Illinois Landscape Contractors Education & Charitable Organization is a Private Foundation and gifts are tax deductible to the extent of the law.


Scott Grams
Illinois Landscape Contractors Assoctiaion (ILCA)

The Outstanding Building of the Year® (TOBY) Awards honor the best of the best in commercial buildings. Bruce Church and Gayle Kruckenberg attended the TOBY® Award Reception and Banquet at the 2014 Every Building Conference & Expo in Orlando, FL, where 87 regional winners were recognized and competed in 14 categories for the highest honor.  Congratulations to CBRE and their staff at the Atrium Corporate Center, Rolling Meadows on their 2013-2014 International TOBY award.  Balanced Environments, Inc. has been servicing the landscape needs of the Atrium Corporate Center for CBRE since 2011 and the previous management firm since 2008.

Balanced Environments, Inc. participated in the ‘BOMA-CAN’ Construction Project, during this year’s BOMA/Suburban Chicago Trade Show, which took place at Drury Lane in Oakbrook, on February 27th, and took home “top-honors” in votes and donations – all to benefit Northern Illinois Food Bank.

BOMA-CAN coordinates efforts from trade show sponsors to “construct” unique displays, utilizing actual food-stuffs to be donated - with trade-show attendees “voting with dollars” to pick a winning display.

Jim Wollney, BEI Senior Account Manager, spear headed the effort for BEI for the display design and construction. Jim was also active in soliciting multiple donations from clients, co-workers, and other sources, to add to the “in-house votes” at the trade show. Jim’s display capitalized on the recent interest in the Winter Olympics by “Going for the Gold”.

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As the long, cold winter wanes into a new spring, damage to landscape plants will become evident, as the snow piles disappear.

With the heavy snow cover that this area received, combined with its longevity, landscape plants – especially shrubs – have been vulnerable to damage from animal browsing. Rabbits, voles (mice), and even squirrels have been active above, and below, the snow lines – chewing and feeding on shrub stems, bark, and bud tips.

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The Perennial Plant Association has announced its pick for the 2014 ‘Perennial Plant of the Year’ as: Panicum virgatum ‘Northwind’ – Northwind Switchgrass.

Northwind Switchgrass is a great selection for mass plantings in full-sun areas, providing a full year – spring through winter - of interest and texture. ‘Northwind’ is a quality selection of a hardy, Midwest native grass; a vigorous grower, drought-tolerant, and insect pest and disease resistant.

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If your selection of seasonal color bedding plants, or container accents, has included Garden Impatiens – especially if you have shady locations – you may have experienced ‘die-back’ and plant failures within the last few seasons. This problem most likely comes from a fairly new pathogen, which has become a problem within our region – called ‘Impatiens Downy Mildew’.

This pathogen affects the Garden Impatiens – with leaf-yellowing, followed by curling, and eventual leaf-drop – within full-bed plantings of this flower. It will over-winter in planting bed soil, and will affect successive seasonal plantings of Garden Impatiens (Impatiens walleriana).

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With the coming of spring season, after a long, cold, and snowy winter – common signs of significant turf damage will become visible – and repair operations will be a priority in the early landscape season.

Problems of various types will be found: 1.) Pink Snow Mold – due to long-term, heavy snow cover; 2.) Salt Damage/Die-back – due to repeated snow removal activities; 3.) Vole Damage – burrows and tracks within the turf, under heavy snow cover.

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Jim Wollney, Senior Account Manager, BEI - Old Mill Creek Branch – has taken a first place win in the recent Illinois Landscape Contractors (ILCA) – “iPix Photo Contest” 2014.

ILCA, in conjunction with its inaugural iLandscape Trade Show Event, held February 11-14, 2014 – sponsored a photo contest – to solicit the best of the season’s landscape photos - taken by members, during various association events and happenings.

Jim’s photo was taken at the ILCA ‘Field Day’ event, held in August 2013, at Ball Seed’s research and display garden facility in West Chicago, IL. His photo was selected as winner of “First Place – Best Garden Photograph from Field Day 2013”.

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