October 6, 2023
The landscape at The Morton Arboretum is likely to become more colorful this week. Cool nights and sunny days are in the forecast, providing ideal conditions for trees and shrubs to develop their autumn colors.
The parking lots at the Visitor Center (Parking Lot 1) and Thornhill Education Center (Parking Lot 22) are showing muted reds on Freeman maples and yellows on hackberries, redbuds, and Miyabe’s maples. Purple can be found on white ash and oak-leaved hydrangeas.
Maple trees are just beginning their fall color season, so this is a great time to stop at parking lots 8 or 14 to walk the Main Trail Loop 3 through the Maple Collection, which includes dozens of maple species from around the world.
In the Arboretum’s woodlands, late-blooming Drummond’s asters add color to the ground layer. Yellow can be seen on small trees in the understory, such as ironwood, redbud, and American elms. In the canopy of branches overhead, sugar maples are beginning to show hints of orange.
In the tree collections, yellow is showing on hackberries, redbuds, corktrees, coffeetrees, honey-locusts, hickories, black walnuts, cottonwoods, elms, and catalpas. The few white ash trees in the Arboretum’s collection are purple. Look for reds on sumacs, Virginia creeper, and poison-ivy vines in sunny areas.
In the Schulenberg Prairie near Parking Lot 25, grasses are blooming and setting seeds while the flowers of gentians and asters add bloom highlights.
There is also plenty of seasonal color in the garden beds and container displays around The Grand Garden, the Visitor Center, and Arbor Court near Parking Lot 1.
The fall color season is here at The Morton Arboretum! Visit often because the colors will be changing daily as the season progresses.
Featured in this week's Fall Color Report
Elms are loved for their graceful, stately shape, with branches like spreading fountains, and green leaves that turn gold in fall.
Wide branches that sweep low to the ground and deeply furrowed, corky bark are among the charms of this densely branched shade tree.