This fall, The Morton Arboretum’s 1,700 acres of trees will again reveal stunning colors, expected to draw thousands of leaf-peepers from around the region. The Arboretum’s collection includes trees from 40 different countries, for some of the area’s best and most unique fall colors.
The trees at the Arboretum will generally show the most variety of colors in the first to the third weeks of October. The Arboretum’s official Fall Color Scout, Ed Hedborn, has been monitoring fall color changes at the Arboretum for nearly four decades and will again offer his weekly fall color updates starting in September on the Arboretum’s website, mortonarb.org.
“Color here may come earlier than usual this year, as our trees are still recovering from last year’s drought,” said Hedborn. “Regardless of when we start to see changes, the Arboretum is a fantastic destination for fall color fans, thanks to our unique collection of trees from around the world.”
Fall Color Viewing Tips
The Morton Arboretum is particularly beautiful in the fall, with a greater variety of autumnal colors than anywhere else in the region, thanks to its international collection of trees and plants. Following are some of Hedborn’s fall color viewing tips:
- Smooth sumac and staghorn sumac, which turn bright red, are some of the earliest Arboretum plants to turn color, generally at their best in mid-September. Arboretum color can last until November with the Asiatic pear trees.
- Sugar maples, with their vivid fall colors, are the most popular Arboretum tree for fall color.
- The Arboretum’s Asian plants change color at similar times as the North American plants because they evolved in a similar climate.
- The Arboretum’s European trees stay green longer, as they are from the more moderate European climate.
- Top color viewing spots include the Arboretum’s East Woods, the Maple and Oak Collections and Sterling Pond, where visitors can see the fall colors reflected in the water.
- A sunny day isn’t always the best day to come see the colors. Fall colors are actually more vivid in cloudy weather.