Bloom and Fall Color Reports

Fall Color Report: October 20 – October 26, 2023

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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!



About the Fall Color Report

The Fall Color Report is written by the Arboretum’s manager of plant records, Ed Hedborn. It is typically published on Fridays throughout the fall to give members and guests a chance to plan their weekend visits. The Arboretum also publishes a weekly Bloom Report in springtime.


Fall at The Morton Arboretum

The Morton Arboretum is more than a walk in the woods. Explore upcoming learning opportunities and events to learn more about trees and plants and to celebrate your love of nature.

Experience the Arboretum’s Fall Color Festival, happening throughout the season. Visitors can enjoy daily events, the annual Scarecrow Trail, the award-winning Children’s Garden, and special seasonal concessions in Arbor Court. Plan your visit today!

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When a trip to the Arboretum inspires you to explore more, become a member to visit again and again.

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