September 23, 2022
Hints of fall color are beginning to appear in the living collections and woodlands at The Morton Arboretum. The most obvious changes are in the parking lots and meadows, where fall colors normally begin to develop first. In the woodlands, such as in the East Woods (parking lots 10 to 13) and on the West Side Alternate Route (parking lots 26 and 27), late-blooming asters, goldenrods, and white snakeroot add color to the ground layer. In the trees’ canopy of leaves and in the understory below their branches, greens are starting to lighten, hinting at the color changes to come.
Changing leaf color is most visible in buckeyes, such as those trees in the Buckeye Collection near Parking Lot 5, which are turning rusty-brown and then losing their leaves to show bare branches. Lighter shades of green are showing in hackberries, corktrees, coffeetrees, walnuts, some elms, and catalpas. Walnuts and acorns from the Arboretum’s many species of oaks are starting to drop to the ground.
In sunny areas, look for early reds developing on sumacs and the occasional Virginia creeper or poison-ivy vine. The Schulenberg Prairie (Parking Lot 25) is another good place to watch fall colors develop. Grasses are blooming and setting seeds, while gentians, asters, goldenrods, and late-sunflowers are in flower.
The fall color season is upon us. Visit often because the colors will be changing almost daily!