As daylight grows shorter, dry soils, sunny days, and cool nights have combined to set the stage for an interesting fall color season. The soil is dry because rain has been scarce in August and September.
At The Morton Arboretum, the plants that grow along the ground in the prairies and woodlands are generally on schedule, with asters, goldenrod, white snakeroot, and woodland sunflowers in bloom. Some shrubs, trees, and vines, such as sumacs, buckeye, and Virginia creeper, are also turning at their normal times.
Some trees, however, are beginning to change color much earlier than normal. Those showing early fall color include redbud, white ash, black walnut, Freeman's maple, Kentucky coffeetree, and corktrees. There are even hints of red and orange in the tops of sugar maples, which normally do not turn until the second week in October.
How fast the tree color will develop and how long it will last is all up to the weather. Stay tuned!