October 1, 2020
Autumn has arrived at The Morton Arboretum. Recent cool nights and bright sunny days have begun to develop fall colors throughout the Arboretum grounds.
The Arboretum’s tree and plant collections are still primarily green, with several species beginning to show new shades. Trees in stressful sites, such as the Visitor Center parking lot (P1) medians and in full sun away from irrigated areas, are turning shades of yellow, red, and purple, including: hackberry (yellow), redbud (yellow), tree lilacs (yellow), ironwood (yellow), American elm (yellow), Miyabe maple (yellow), katsura (yellow), coffeetree (yellow), river birch (yellow), corktree (yellow), Freeman and red maples (red), sumacs (red), Virginia creeper (red), poison ivy (red), flowering dogwood (purple), and various viburnums (purple).
Several sugar maples in bright sunny areas are displaying reds and bright oranges in their tops. Shaded sugar maples are just starting to show hints of colors in their sunny tops. Buckeyes have dropped their leaves or have a few lingering leaves.
In the Arboretum’s woodlands, trees are beginning to turn a lighter shade of green with hints of yellow. Red and orange can be seen in some sugar maple tops near P9 and P10 and close to the Big Rock Visitor Station. The woodland ground layer has many late fall blooms: fall asters and goldenrods are still blooming, while white snakeroot has started to fade. Roadsides are also displaying asters, goldenrods, sunflowers, beggars-ticks, and hints of color in the dogwood shrubs as well as purple in flowering dogwoods. The Schulenburg Prairie is a good place to visit to see gentians, asters, and other composites blooming.
Colors will continue to develop throughout the season, but the intensity and longevity depend on the weather ahead of us. Stay tuned!