View 'Miracle of Fall' colors
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URBANA -- Signs of fall are
in the air, and with these signs comes the promise of brilliant fall
foliage, noted Ron Wolford, a University of Illinois Extension
horticulture educator based in Chicago. And University of Illinois
Extension has a website to aid those desiring to see the best
examples of fall color.
"The days are noticeably shorter;
cooler temperatures are on the way," he said. "The green leaves of
summer will soon give way to a brilliant autumn palette of golds,
yellows, reds, oranges and browns. Did you know that the yellows and
oranges of fall, on maples and ashes, have been there all summer?"
The colors, Wolford explained, were
hidden by chlorophyll, which makes leaves green.
"As days grow shorter, chlorophyll
production is gradually reduced, allowing the yellows and oranges to
appear," he said. "Red and purple fall colors appear in the fall as
sugars in the leaves break down in bright light. Sunny, bright days
will produce the most brilliant reds and purples."
The most vivid fall foliage occurs when
days are sunny and cool, combined with cool nights, above-freezing
temperatures and normal rainfall. Since these conditions vary from
year to year, it is difficult to predict fall color.
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Wolford said the Chicago area is
blessed with places like Morton Arboretum, the Chicago Botanic
Garden and the Cook County Forest Preserve to view colorful fall
foliage. Nearby Wisconsin and Michigan offer many scenic fall
"Families might want to plan a weekend
excursion this October to view fall's colorful extravaganza," he
To check out fall foliage drives,
updates and festivals, go to U of I Extension's "The Miracle of
Fall" website at
www.urbanext.uiuc.edu/fallcolor or call Wolford at (773)
[University of Illinois news