October 18, 2013

Each year, The Morton Arboretum’s trees are a prime stop for area leaf-peepers, as many of the Arboretum’s 4,200 varieties of trees turn a brilliant palette of vibrant reds, oranges and golds. Ed Hedborn is the Arboretum’s official Fall Color Scout and reports on the Arboretum’s color each week during the season.

For the latest fall color updates from the Arboretum, call the Bloom 'n Color Hotline at 630-719-7955.

Arboretum Fall Color Updates from Ed:
More oranges are showing from last week on sugar maples in the East Woods. Reds are more pronounced on sumacs. American ashes (especially ‘Autumn Purple’) are dark-purple, but are dropping quickly, while Ohio buckeyes are turning deep yellow and are about nearly done. In woodland areas, elm, ironwood and redbuds are showing yellow while the tops of the sugar maples are orange and color is beginning to creep down their sunnier sides. Cool nights have really started to speed up the color change.


East Side:

  • Visitor Center: Yellow redbuds and red Freeman maples are a sight to see, while Autumn Purple white ashes are beginning to drop their leaves. Blackhaw shows deep maroon, Peking lilacs are yellow-green, and witch-hazels are turning yellow.
  • Meadow Lake: Prairie grasses are turning yellow, tan and russet colors and setting seed. Sycamore trees are turning yellow-brown and redbuds are a bright yellow.
  • Elm, Hackberry, Linden & Corktree Collections: American elms are showing more yellow, as are redbud and corktrees. The large buckeye is about half turned a warm yellow-gold.
  • Northern Illinois & Midwest Collections: Hackberries are dropping yellow leaves and the redbuds are yellow. Tupelo is changing to scarlet red, sugar maples are turning orange and viburnums are turning maroon.
  • Frost Hill: Sumacs are red and dropping and columnar maples are beginning to lighten and show some orange. Buckeyes are turning brownish-yellow, hackberries are dropping yellow leaves, pin oaks and European beech are turning yellowish-gold, and dawn-redwoods are turning lighter green.
  • Buckeye Collection: Buckeyes are turning yellow and brownish-yellow with about half their leaves dropped. Cottonwood leaves are drying out and dropping in the woods while the red maple to the north is turning yellow and red. Witch-hazels and corktrees are turning yellow.
  • Maple & Oak Collections: Yellows, oranges and reds show throughout the maple collection. Common hackberries and redbuds are yellow. A few oaks are lightening and beginning to show fall colors.
  • East Woods: Elms, black cherries, ironwoods and redbuds are yellow. Walnuts are bare, white ashes are dropping purple leaves and sugar maples are turning orange in their tops and on their sunny sides.
  • Beeches: Beech leaves just show green, yellows and browns.
  • Appalachian to Japan Collections: Flowering dogwoods are showing reddish-purple in their leaves, while ashes show purples and yellows. Sugar maples are turning yellows and oranges and Asian maples are showing reds, yellows and oranges. Pawpaws are about half turned yellow in the sunny areas. Sumacs are half turned reds and yellows as they turn. 

West Side:

  • River Bridge & Ozark Collectioni: American beeches are turning yellow and brown, Peking lilac leaves are lightening and tupelo is beginning to turn red.
  • Crabapples & European Collection: Crabapple leaves are turning yellow and dropping, exposing their colorful fruits.
  • Founder’s Grove: The redbuds are a glowing yellow.
  • Thornhill: Elms are turning yellow and golden-yellow near the building. At the parking lot, Viburnum plicatum ‘Mariesii’ leaves are dark maroon, hackberries are yellow, redbuds are yellow, sumacs are turning red, and sugar maples are showing tints of red and orange.
  • Alternate Route/Lake Marmo: Yellow redbuds and hackberries with ironwoods are showing yellow, bitternut hickories are warm golden-yellow, and the sugar maples north of Lake Marmo are displaying hints of orange tint. Purple is beginning to show on the large Freeman maple on the north side of the lake.
  • Main Route: Oaks are still summer green, though some Virginia creeper and poison-ivy are showing purple-red color. Redbuds are turning yellow.
  • Schulenberg Prairie: Grasses are ripening and beginning to change.
  • Sterling Pond: Sugar maples on the east side of the pond are about one-third changed to orange.
  • Birch Collection: Birches continue to turn yellow and drop, opening up their white peeling bark.
  • Nut Tree Collection: Pecans are showing hints of golden yellow with sugar maples turning yellow-orange near the river bridge.
  • DuPage River: Redbuds are yellow and Miyabe maples are showing hints of yellow.


About The Morton Arboretum

The Morton Arboretum is an internationally recognized outdoor tree museum on 1,700 acres. Plant collections, scientific research and education programs support the mission to plant and conserve trees and other plants for a greener, healthier and more beautiful world. Designed with natural landscapes, the grounds include the award-winning, four-acre interactive Children’s Garden, the one-acre Maze Garden, plus specialty gardens, 16 miles of trails and nine miles of roads. Visitor experiences include the open-air tram ride, guided walks, Arbor Day celebrations, concerts, art shows, Fall Color Festival, and special exhibits. The Arboretum welcomes more than 800,000 visitors annually and serves more than 35,600 members. Located 25 miles west of Chicago in Lisle, Illinois, the Arboretum is open daily 7 a.m. until sunset. Learn more at mortonarb.org.


Admission Rate

Nonmember admission rates to The Morton Arboretum are $12 for adults ages 18-64 ($8 on Wednesday), $11 for seniors ages 65 and over ($7 on Wednesday), $9 for children ages 2-17 ($6 on Wednesday) and free for children under age 2. Parking is free with admission.