November 3, 2023
Freezing temperatures have changed the appearance of trees at The Morton Arboretum, but there is still plenty of autumn color to see, especially among the oaks and in the understory of woodlands.
As leaves fall, structures of the Arboretum’s varied trees are beginning to show, with different branching textures and bark colors. It’s also easier to spot bird nests, hornet and wasp nests, and squirrel dreys (nests made of leaves in tree branches). The predominant colors this week are yellow in the understory sugar maples in woodland areas such as the East Woods (parking lots 9 through 13 on the main driving route). In the Oak Collection (Parking Lot 8) and elsewhere, there is a wide range of colors in oaks from deep green to yellow, golden-brown, orange, and even some shades of purple and scarlet. Look for fruits of crabapples, ironwood, and persimmons as leaves drop.
Winter-themed displays of lights and evergreens are replacing the autumn displays in beds and containers around the Visitor Center and The Gerard T. Donnelly Grand Garden (Parking Lot 1) and the Thornhill Education Center (Parking Lot 21). Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum will open in just a few weeks. But beneath the winter displays and underneath fallen leaves in many other parts of the Arboretum are the bulbs of daffodils and other flowers, sleeping and preparing next spring’s colorful blooms.
The fall color season may be drawing toward a close, but there is still plenty of color to enjoy! Don’t let the weather keep you inside. Come out and enjoy nature’s late-season fall color.
Featured in this week's Fall Color Report
The extensive Oak Collection at the Arboretum contains well-documented oak species and hybrids. In the collection are 56 different kinds of oaks and over 200 individual plants that come from North America, Asia, and Europe.
Easily recognized in winter by its unusual rugged, blocky bark, persimmon has thick, dark green leaves that turn a yellow fall color. Female trees produce large orange-brown fleshy fruit that are edible after the first frost.