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. Check out classical music pieces to pair with your fall color viewing.
This week, fall color has come in force to The Morton Arboretum, even though our weather has been cool and wet. Visitors in the coming two weeks, including this weekend’s Glass Pumpkin Patch, will see some of the best color of our season. The warm, bright sunny days and cool nights we had earlier have brightened our landscape. More color is showing in our collections this week, especially in the Maple Collection and in our natural areas in the East Woods; around Lake Marmo and Sterling Pond; and in our Schulenberg Prairie. Sugar maples especially are showing rich hues of orange and red.
Administration, Visitor Center, and Parking (Parking Lot 1): Marmo Freeman maples in the Visitor center parking lot are turning red while the Jeffersred Freeman maples at the south end of the medians are losing their red leaves. Redbuds, hackberries, honey locusts, and Kentucky coffeetrees are losing their yellow leaves while tree lilacs, Morton Miyabe maples, and hedge maples are turning yellow. American hazelnuts are turning coppery-red and purple. Sumacs are turning dark red.
Elms, lindens, and corktrees (Parking Lots 1 to 2): American elms are yellow. European elms are still yellow-green. Hackberries, Katsura trees and corktrees are yellow. Yellow buckeye is turning yellow.
Rhododendrons and Northern Illinois and Midwest Collections (Parking Lot 2): Flowering dogwoods are purple. Pawpaws are yellow. Kentucky coffeetrees, redbuds and bur oaks are yellow and starting to drop leaves. Ohio buckeyes are bare. Sumacs are red. Sugar maple is orange-red. Hickories are yellow and golden-yellow. Viburnums are turning to shades of dark red.
Frost Hill and overlook (Parking Lot 3): Sumacs are red, and sugar maple is orange-red. Magnolias and European beeches are yellow. White pines are showing some yellow needles as they begin their fall needle drop. Hickories are yellow and golden-yellow.
Crabapple Lake and Rose Family (Parking Lot 4): Walnuts are yellow and dropping both fruit and leaves. Mountain ash are showing reds and yellows. Columnar maples to the west of the road are showing reds and orange-reds. Riverbank grapevines are yellow. Crabapples are turning yellow.
Crowley Marsh and magnolias (Parking Lot 5): Asters are still blooming in pale blue around the wetlands. Magnolias are turning yellow. Sassafras leaves have turned orange. Bur oaks in the surrounding woodlands are turning yellow and dropping. White oaks are beginning to show hints of color.
Buckeye Collection (Parking Lot 6): Ohio buckeyes are mostly bare. Japanese and bottlebrush buckeyes are starting to turn yellow. Corktrees and lindens show yellow. Cottonwoods in the woods are yellow and dropping. The red maple to the north of the collection is red. Witch-hazels south of the road are turning yellow.
Maple and Oak Collections (Parking Lots 7 and 8): The color show in the Maple Collection continues. Freeman maples are red. Armstrong Freeman maples near Parking Lot 7 are turning red. Autumn Applause white ash is purple. Prairie Pride common hackberry is yellow. Asian oaks are turning reds, yellows, and golden-browns.
East Woods (Parking Lots 8 to 15): Virginia creeper vines in sun are purple-red. Staghorn sumac in sunny locations is red. Elm, redbud, and ironwood are yellow. Bur oaks are turning yellow and dropping. Canopy sugar maples have red and red-orange tops, while understory sugar maples and seedling sugar maples on the woodland floor are just starting to turn yellow.
Big Rock Visitor Station (Parking Lot 13): Sugar maples are yellow with orange-red on their sunny tops and west sides. Elms, ironwood, and lindens are yellow.
Maple and Beech Collections (Parking Lot 14): The maple color show is great this week. Freeman maples are in shades of red. Asian maples are showing reds and yellows. Sugar maples are orange-reds and reds. Beeches show greens, yellows, and golden-browns.
East Woods and ravine (Parking Lot 15): Basswoods, elms, and ironwoods show yellow. Red-orange can be seen on the tops of tall sugar maples in full sun. Yellows are developing on sugar maples in the shade. Bur oaks are yellow and dropping. White oaks are just beginning to show hints of fall color.
Appalachia and China Collections, wetland, and Central and Eastern Asia Collections (Parking Lots 16 to 18): Sugar maples show oranges and red-oranges in the collections and surrounding woodlands. Ashes and hickories are turning yellow and golden-yellow. Silver maples and bladdernuts are turning yellow. Flowering dogwoods are red, as are Virginia creeper vines in the trees. Pawpaw is yellow in the sun, green in the shade. Walnuts are yellow and dropping both leaves and fruits. Pines are showing yellow needles as they begin their fall needle drop. In the China Collection, crabapples and tree lilacs are tuning yellow, with Asian maples beginning to turn yellowish-green with hints of reds to come.
Japan, Elm, Hackberry, Linden, and Corktree Collections (Parking Lot 18): Miyabe maples are yellow. American elms are turning yellow. European elms are holding green. Hackberries and corktrees are yellow. Ginkgos are turning yellow. Sumacs are all shades from orange to dark reds.
West Side Main Route: Near the DuPage River bridge, a sugar maple is orange-red. American beeches are yellow and russet-brown. Silver maples and tree lilacs are turning yellow.
Ozark Collection: Spicebush is yellow and dropping. Ohio buckeyes are red-brown and dropping. Cottonwoods are turning yellow and dropping. Silver maples are turning yellow. Hickories are turning yellow and golden-yellow. Tupelo is starting to turn red.
Crabapple and Europe Collections (Parking Lot 19): The Miyabe maple along Joy Path to the west is yellow. Crabapples are turning yellow. To the east, lindens are turning yellow.
Founder’s Grove (Parking Lot 20): Honey locusts, ironwoods, and redbuds are yellow with some leaf drop. Virginia creeper is purple-red in the sun. Witch-hazel is yellow. White oaks are showing hints of fall color.
Thornhill Education Center, Fragrance Garden, and Joy Path (Parking Lot 21): White pines are showing yellow needles as they begin their fall needle drop. Marmo and Jeffersred Freeman maples are red. Ironwoods are yellow. Elms are turning yellow. Sumacs in full sun are bright red. Sugar maples are red-orange. Catalpas to the west of parking Lot 21 are turning yellowish-green. Katsura trees’ leaves show pale yellows. Viburnums are dark reds and purples. Dogwoods are showing lighter shades of purple.
Daffodil Glade (Parking Lots 22 and 23): White oaks are showing hints of purple fall color.
Oak Savanna, Pine Hill, and Cricket Hill (Parking Lot 24): Virginia creeper vines are red. Walnuts are yellow and dropping leaves and nuts. Bur oaks are yellowing and dropping. White oaks are showing hints of fall color.
Schulenberg Prairie (Parking Lot 25): Grasses are ripening and beginning to change color to warm russets and soft purples. Bitternut and shagbark hickories are turning golden-yellow and yellow. Sugar maples are orange. Sumacs are showing red.
Sterling Pond and East Prairie (Parking Lots 25 to 30): Sugar maples are yellow and orange-reds. Prairie grasses are yellow, russet & purple. Asters are purple.
Birch Collection (Parking Lots 30 and 31): Birch leaves are dropping their yellow leaves and starting to show their white bark.
Nut Tree Collection (Parking Lot 31): Leaves on walnuts are yellow and dropping. Pecans are beginning to turn yellow-green.
DuPage River (Parking Lot 32): Sugar maples near the bridge are red-orange. Norway maples are green and yellow-green. American hazelnuts show shades of yellow, orange and red-purple. Arrowwood viburnums are turning red. Redbuds are yellow and dropping. Freeman maples are turning yellow and red across the river. Miyabe maples are yellow. Cottonwoods along the river are yellow and dropping. Dogwood leaves are purple.
Sargent’s Glade (Parking Lot 26): Redbud leaves are yellow and dropping. Bitternut hickory is golden-yellow. Young oaks are turning shades of yellow, red, and brown. White oak is showing hints of fall color.
Lake Marmo (Parking Lots 27 and 28): The large Freeman maple on the north of the lake is a rich dark purple-red. Silver maples, hackberries, redbuds, ironwoods, and catalpas are yellow. Gray dogwoods are turning purple. Sugar maples are orange-red on the north side of the lake.
Spruce Hill, Hemlock Hill, and Sterling Pond (Parking Lot 29): Asters are blue and purple and goldenrods are still blooming yellow. Sugar maples are orange-reds. Oaks are starting to turn.
Lake Marmo road over bridge – Dogwoods, Joy Path and Ozarks: Gray and Cornelian cherry dogwoods are turning purple. The big Miyabe maple on Joy Path is yellow. Magnolias are turning yellow. Walnuts are yellow and dropping fruit and leaves. Spicebush leaves are yellow and dropping. Cottonwoods are turning yellow and dropping. Silver maples are yellow. Elms are turning yellow. Sugar maples are showing red-oranges. Hickories are turning yellow and golden-yellow. Tupelo is starting to turn red.