September 30, 2022
The fall change in The Morton Arboretum’s tree collections and woodlands is becoming easier to see with the onset of cooler nights and warm days. The most apparent changes are still in trees and shrubs in the parking lots and meadows, where fall colors normally begin to develop first.
In the woodlands, such as the East Woods (parking lots 9 through 13), late-blooming asters and goldenrods are still in flower, and leaves of low-growing plants are beginning to turn yellow. Shades of greens in the canopy of tree leaves and the understory are becoming lighter, with hints of orange starting in the high branches of sugar maples in the woods.
Color changes in trees are most visible in buckeyes near Parking Lot 5 and along Route 53, which have turned rusty-brown. Some of their branches are already bare. Yellowish greens are showing in a number of trees, including hackberries, corktrees, coffeetrees, walnuts, cottonwoods, some elms, and catalpas. Purple is developing on the few white ash trees that remain at the Arboretum. Look for early reds developing on sumacs and the occasional Virginia creeper or poison-ivy vine in sunny areas. Acorns and walnuts are dropping to the ground.
The Schulenberg Prairie (Parking Lot 25) is a good place to watch fall colors develop. Grasses are setting seeds while gentians, asters, goldenrods, and late sunflowers are adding bloom highlights. Don’t miss the seasonal displays of flowers and pumpkins around The Gerard T. Donnelly Grand Garden, the Visitor Center, and Arbor Court (Parking Lot 1).
The fall color season is accelerating! Visit often, because the colors will change almost daily.