Naperville shows off its colors with the peak of fall foliage

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Fall colors in the Naperville area are just about at their peak for the season, according to a fall foliage prediction map from the Smoky Mountains Tourism Board.

Color change delayed a bit but now in full swing

This year, the Morton Arboretum says the start of the fall colors was delayed a bit by unfavorable weather, but is now well underway. It puts out a weekly fall color report where visitors can learn which areas in the arboretum are showing off different colors.

Temperature and moisture are the key factors in determining how quickly leaf colors will pop, and how vibrant they’ll be, according to the U.S. Forest Service. The best forecasts for bright fall colors it says are repeated warm sunny days, and cool nights that stay above freezing. Moisture levels in the soil also play a part. Drought conditions can cause leaves to drop from trees without much color change at all.

And different types of trees have different timelines for their switch. In our region, maples tend to turn sooner, with oaks among the last to switch up their hue.

Chlorophyll behind the color change

The change itself happens because of chlorophyll. According to the U.S. Forest Service, chlorophyll is produced and broken down continually during the growing season, keeping leaves green. But as nights grow longer when the fall season arrives, production of chlorophyll slows down, and eventually it begins to disappear. That gives a chance for carotenoids and anthocyanin within the leaves to take over, and show off their hues.

Carotenoids are responsible for bringing out yellows, oranges, and browns in leaves, with anthocyanin creating the red and purplish hues.

The Naperville area is seeing its share of different shades, with reds, yellows, oranges and browns bursting out around neighborhoods and local parks and preserves. Take a peek at some of the colors that popped out in our region over the last week.

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