October 25, 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:

The cool nights have sped up the color change in the Arboretum’s trees. Reds are more pronounced on sumacs. In woodland areas, the light has a definite yellow glow as you drive under elm, ironwood, and redbuds. More color is creeping down the sunny sides of sugar maples in the East Woods and near Lake Marmo and Sterling Pond.

East Side:

  • Visitor Center: The Freeman maples at the ends of the medians are in full red fall color, black haw viburnums show deep maroon, Peking lilacs are yellow-green, and witch-hazels show some yellow.
  • Meadow Lake: Prairie grasses are yellow, tan, and russet colors and setting seed; sycamores are turning yellow-brown, river birches turn yellow.
  • Northern Illinois & Midwest Collections: Hickories have started to change yellow, while sugar and black maples are turning orange, hackberries are dropping yellow leaves, redbuds are yellow and dropping, tupelo is changing to scarlet red.
  • Frost Hill: The view across the river valley is beginning to turn from late-holding greens to yellowish-green, sumacs in Northern Illinois are red and dropping, hackberries are dropping yellow leaves, pin oaks and European beech are turning yellowish-gold, columnar maples are beginning to lighten and show some orange, and dawn redwoods are turning lighter green.
  • Buckeye Collection: Buckeyes are mostly dropped, though bottlebrush buckeyes are just beginning to turn yellow.
  • Maple and Oak Collections: Yellows, oranges and reds show throughout the collection, common hackberries and redbuds are yellow; a few oaks are lightening and beginning to show fall color.
  • East Woods: Elms, black cherries, ironwoods and redbuds are yellow, sugar maples are turning orange in their tops and on their sunny sides. The light filtering down through the canopy has a definite yellow cast.
  • Maple & Beech Collections: We’re seeing yellow, orange and red fall colors in the maple collection; our beech leaves are showing green, yellows and browns.
  • Appalachia, China & Japan Collections: Flowering dogwoods are showing reddish-purple in their leaves, sugar maples show yellows and oranges, pawpaws are about ½ turned yellow in the sunny areas, Asian maples are showing reds, yellows and oranges and the ginkgos have started to turn yellow.
  • Elm, Hackberry, Linden & Corktree Collections: Some elms are starting to turn a lighter green. Common hackberries and redbuds are yellow and corktrees are showing yellowish-green. The large yellow buckeye has started to change a warm yellow-gold. Sumacs are washed with reds and yellows as they turn.


West Side:

  • West Side Main Route: The oaks are paler green, and redbuds are yellow with scattered hickories show orangish-yellow.
  • Crabapple & Europe Collections: Our crabapple leaves are turning yellow and dropping exposing their yellow and red fruits.
  • Founder’s Grove: The redbuds are yellow, with white oaks starting to turn paler green.
  • Thornhill Education Center: Our elms are turning yellow & golden-yellow near the building, at the parking lot Viburnum plicatum ‘Mariesii’ leaves are dark maroon, redbuds are yellow, sumacs are turning red, and sugar maples are showing red and orange.
  • Alternate Route & Lake Marmo: The yellow redbuds and hackberries with ironwoods show yellow, bitternut hickories are a warm golden-yellow, orange sugar maples to the north of Lake Marmo, purple shows on the large Freeman maple on the north side of the lake.
  • Schulenberg Prairie: Prairie grasses have changed and show purplish, yellows and russets.
  • Sterling Pond: The sugar maples on the east side of the pond show orange.
  • Birch Collection: The birches continue to turn yellow and drop, opening up their white peeling bark.
  • Nut Tree Collection: The pecans are showing hints of golden yellow with sugar maples turning yellow-orange near the river bridge.
  • DuPage River: The redbuds are yellow, and our Miyabe maples are showing hints of yellow.
  • River Bridge area & Ozark Collection: American beeches are turning yellow and brown, Peking lilac leaves are lightening, tupelo continues to turn red.


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.