Fall Color Report: September 27-October 6, 2016

Close-up of a red sumac leaf
Sumacs are beginning to show color
September 30, 2016

Now that bright sunny days and cool nights have arrived, trees are taking on their fall colors. The colors should intensify over the coming weeks as red pigments are produced and chlorophyll in the leaves begins to break down to unmasking the yellows. How quickly will colors change and how bright will they be? It depends on continued sunny days, cool nights and adequate moisture.

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


East Side


Visitor Center parking (Parking Lot 1): Red has appeared on the Jeffersred Freeman maples at the south end of the medians; leaves are yellow-green on hackberry and Peking lilacs.

Elm and corktree collections (Parking Lots 1 and 2): More yellow tips on the leaves of corktrees; American elms are turning yellowish-green.

Northern Illinois and Midwest Collections (Parking Lot 2): Ohio buckeyes are dropping reddish-brown leaves and showing spiny fruits. Leaves of coffeetrees, redbuds, and hackberries are turning yellow-green. Flowering dogwoods show hints of reddish-purple in their leaves and bright red fruits.

Frost Hill (Parking Lot 3): Hackberries, redbuds, and buckeyes are turning yellow. Drummond’s aster blooms pale blue. The view from the hill overlooking the DuPage River valley is still mostly green, though sumacs are turning red in the Northern Illinois collection. Magnolias and beech trees to the west are turning yellow.

Crabapple Lake and Rose Family Collection (Parking Lot 4): Fruits on mountain-ash are starting to turn reddish. Crabapple fruits are starting to mature and turn red or yellow. Black walnut leaves are turning yellow-green and dropping.

Crowley Marsh and Magnolia Collection (Parking Lot 5): Drummond’s asters are blooming pale blue. Walnut leaves are turning yellow-green and falling. Gray dogwood leaves are getting a purple tinge.

Buckeye Collection (Parking Lot 6): As the leaves fall from buckeyes, their spiny fruits become visible. Corktree, walnut, and linden branchlets are turning yellow. Leaves also are turning yellow on the witch-hazels near Spikerush Marsh.

Maple and Oak collections (Parking Lots 7 and 8): Armstrong Freeman maples have a pinkish tint as they begin to turn. Now is the time to park and walk through the Maple Collection to see the first blush of fall color on maples from around the world.

East Woods (Parking Lots 8 to 15): Along the edge of the road, Drummond’s asters are pale blue. Walnuts are dropping yellow leaves. Overhead in the tree canopy, sugar maples are beginning to turn yellow at their tops.

Big Rock Visitor station (Parking Lot 13): Asters are blooming in blue. Woodland sugar maples are showing yellow in their tops and sides where the leaves are exposed to the sun.

Maple and Beech collections (Parking Lot 14): Park and walk through the Maple and Beech collections to see the first blush of fall color on maples from around the world.

Appalachia, China and Japan collections (Parking Lots 16 to 18): Flowering dogwoods are showing hints of red and purple in their leaves and bright red fruits. Sugar maples leaving are turning yellow at their tops where they are exposed to the sun. Miyabe maples are turning yellow- green. Some yellow is showing on the plants in the China Collection.

Sumac Collection (Parking Lot 18): Red is just starting to show on staghorn sumac.

West Side Main Route


River Bridge: Peking lilacs and American beech are turning yellow-green

Crabapple and Europe Collections and retention basin (Parking Lot 19): Grasses are turning gold with hints of purple and red. Silky dogwoods are beginning to turn purple. The top of the Miyabe maple along Joy Path to the west is turning yellow-green.

Founder’s Grove (Parking Lot 20): Redbuds, coffeetrees, and witch-hazels are turning yellow-green. A few Virginia creepers vines on the tree trunks are turning red.

Thornhill Education Center (Parking Lot 21): Marmo and Jeffersred Freeman maples are showing hints of pink on their green leaves. Redbuds, catalpas, and sycamores are turning yellow-green.

Nut Tree Collection and Bluebird Meadow (Parking Lots 22 and 23): Walnut trees are dropping a few yellow leaves. Pale blue Drummond’s asters add color.

Pine Hill (Parking Lot 24): Pale-blue Drummond’s asters and yellow touch-me-nots are the color here.

Schulenberg Prairie (Parking Lot 25): Fall asters and blue gentians are blooming. Grasses are maturing in gold with hints of purple and red. Walnut leaves are turning yellow and dropping.

Sterling Pond (Parking Lots 25 and 29): Drummond’s asters are pale blue. Sugar maples are beginning to turn yellow-green.

Birch Collection (Parking Lots 30 and 31): As yellow leaves fall from many kinds of birches, their attractive bark is revealed.

Nut Tree Collection (Parking Lot 31): Walnut leaves are turning yellowish-green and dropping.

DuPage River and willows (Parking Lot 32): Maples along the Arbordale fence are showing hints of yellow at their tops. Freeman maples across the river are showing hints of red.

Godshalk Meadow (Parking Lot 33): Miyabe maples are turning a lighter green.


West Side Alternate Route


Sargent’s Glade (Parking Lot 26): Bur oaks are dropping acorns. Blue Drummond’s asters add color. Walnuts are turning yellow and dropping leaves.

Lake Marmo and Sterling Pond (Parking Lots 27 and 28): Catalpas, redbuds, and coffeetrees are turning yellow-green. The large Freeman maple on the north side of Lake Marmo is beginning to show purple. Sugar maples are turning paler green. Drummond’s aster is blooming pale blue.