October 20, 2023
Fall colors have arrived! Even gray skies can’t dim the scarlets and golds of leaf colors at The Morton Arboretum.
Good places to visit to see fall colors include the north side of Lake Marmo (Parking Lot 28); the East Woods edges near parking lots 9 and 10 and at Parking Lot 15, and the Maple Collection (Parking Lot 14). Fall colors also are developing well in the Elm Collection (Parking Lot 18), Plants of Appalachia (Parking Lot 17), the Midwest Collection (Parking Lot 2), the Korea Collection (parking lots 2 or 17), and the Beech Collection (Parking Lot 14). The Frost Hill overlook at Parking Lot 3 gives a nice colorful view across the valley into the Midwest Collection and Meadow Lake.
Many colors can be seen on the trees around the Arboretum’s collections and grounds. Freeman maples are vivid red; so are sumacs, Virginia creeper, and poison-ivy, though some have started to drop their leaves. Yellow is showing on redbuds; Miyabe’s maples; American elms; bitternut and shagbark hickories; corktrees; coffeetrees; honey-locusts; black walnuts; cottonwoods; witch-hazels; and catalpas. Orange can be seen on maples near Lake Marmo, in the Maple Collection, and in sunny locations in the East Woods. An accent of purple-red pops on a few viburnums and flowering dogwoods. The Oak Collection (Parking Lot 8) is starting to show color as well. Yellows and browns predominate, but a few purple-reds are standouts. Acorns and walnuts continue to drop to the ground in the collections and woodlands.
In the woodlands, including the East Woods, the layer of plants on the ground is beginning to turn yellow and brown. Among small understory trees, ironwood, basswood, bitternut hickory, maple, and American elm saplings are turning yellow. Overhead among the branches of tall trees, oranges and yellows show in the tops of sugar maples, but the lower branches are still yellow-green in shaded areas.
At the Schulenberg Prairie (Parking Lot 25) grasses, gentians, and asters are still blooming. Around the Visitor Center, Arbor Court, and The Gerard T. Donnelly Grand Garden, the containers and beds include colorful and picture-worthy masses of mums, pumpkins, and gourds.
Although the start of the fall color season was delayed by unfavorable weather, it is now progressing nicely. Visit often, because the foliage colors will be changing almost daily as the season progresses!
Featured in this week's Fall Color Report
White, red, or pink flowering bracts appear on flowering dogwood in early spring before the leaves emerge. Its dark green summer foliage turns a brilliant reddish-purple in fall.
Miyabe’s maple is listed as endangered in its native habitat in Japan, though several cultivars are considered hardy, adaptable urban street trees.