Bloom and Fall Color Reports

Fall Color Report: September 22–28, 2023

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September 22, 2023

Days are growing shorter, temperatures are cooler, and hints of fall color are beginning to appear in the tree collections, gardens, and woodlands at The Morton Arboretum. The most visible changes are in the meadows and trees near Parking Lot 1, where fall color normally develops first. In the Arboretum’s woodlands, late-blooming asters, goldenrods, and white snakeroot add color to the ground layer. Green leaves are beginning to turn more pale on canopy and understory trees, hinting at the seasonal changes to come.

Fall color is most visible in buckeyes near Parking Lot 5 and along Illinois Route 53. Buckeye leaves are turning rusty-brown, and the trees are already showing bare branches and large round fruits. Lighter greens are showing in other trees including hackberries, corktrees, coffeetrees, katsura trees, catalpas, and a few walnuts and elms. This year’s large crop of acorns and walnuts are starting to drop to the ground along Arboretum roads and paths. Look for early reds developing on the leaves of sumac shrubs and the occasional Virginia creeper or poison-ivy vine in sunny areas.

The Schulenberg Prairie is a good place to watch fall colors develop. Grasses are blooming and setting seeds, taking on a golden color. Gentians, asters, goldenrods, and late-sunflowers are in flower. For more blooms, enjoy the seasonal displays in containers and beds around The Gerard T. Donnelly Grand Garden and in Arbor Court near the Visitor Center.

The fall color season is upon us. Visit early and often, as fall colors will be changing almost daily.




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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