Fall Color Report: September 28-October 4, 2018

A tree shows the beginnings of red leaves
A sugar maple in our east side Maple Collection begins to turn with the season.
September 28, 2018

We are in the early stages of this year’s fall color season. Shorter day length, recent sunny days, and cool nights are setting the stage for our fall colors to develop. As we move into the season, weather patterns, including the amount of rainfall in our area, will determine the timing and brightness of fall color into October and early November.

Many of the trees and plants in our collections are still green. Sumacs and Virginia creepers in full sun are just beginning to show small amounts of red. Buckeye trees are showing various stages of color, with some showing yellow-green leaves and others with bare branches. The Maple Collection is just starting to show hints of color with the Oak Collection displaying acorns on select trees.

White snakeroot, a woodland plant, is finishing its bloom season, and fall asters are blooming white to pale blue. Maples, ironwood, and hackberries are beginning to turn a paler green in the sun. Sumacs at the Big Rock Visitor Station are just beginning to turn red. Walnuts are beginning to drop their large nuts. Visitors can look for dark stains from crushed husks on the Arboretum’s road surfaces. The prairie is a scenic place to visit with fall asters blooming, and tall grasses beginning to color.

How fast color will develop, and how long it will last is all up to the weather ahead of us.