Maples are just beginning to show early fall color.
September 24, 2019
As the summer draws to a close, this year’s fall tree color season will depend on weather patterns during the rest of September, October, and early November. Shorter day length is the primary trigger for plants as they get ready for winter. Local rainfall, temperature, and the amount of sunlight available will determine the brightness and longevity of the trees’ colors.
In The Morton Arboretum’s collections, trees and other plants are generally still green. Some trees and shrubs in more stressful sites, such as the Visitor Center parking lot medians and full-sun sites away from irrigated areas, are beginning to turn. Hackberries, redbuds, tree lilacs, and some Freeman maples are showing early fall color, more from stress than from the color change that is normal for those species.
Our woodland trees are still green, but black walnuts and bur oak acorns are beginning to drop. Along the ground, there are still many flowers in bloom, such as white snakeroot, purple and blue fall asters, and goldenrods. The prairie is a good place to visit now, to see gentians, asters, and other flowers.
How fast the colors of trees will develop and how long they will last is all up to the weather ahead of us. Stay tuned!