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Trees for Fall Color: Best Choices

The variety of trees for fall color is impressive. Of course, as a native of New England -- a region renowned for its fall foliage -- I may be somewhat spoiled in this regard. Nonetheless, many of the trees I mention below will prosper in regions far-removed from New England. The fall foliage trees I discuss range in color from the familiar reds and oranges of the maples to the less familiar purple of the ashes and medleys of the sumacs.

The Best Trees for Fall Color: Maples (Pictures)
Not sure what trees to plant for fall color? Well, it's hard to go wrong viewing pictures for some ideas. And as long as your climate is amenable to them, it is hard to go wrong with maples. Put these two facts together and what do you get? Pictures of maples in fall -- which is what this first entry consists of.

Quintessential Fall Foliage Trees -- Maples
If you prefer to skip the pictures and get right down to specifications, then this is the resource on maples for you. I elaborate on a few popular types here. But I do not stop at recommending the best ones to plant; I also inform you of which ones are invasive.

Shagbark Hickory Trees: Fall Color and More
Growing hickory trees is about more than just the nuts. I give you three reasons in this article to grow them, including the fact that they are among the best trees for fall color. In case you are interested in harvesting the nuts, I supply some tips about that, too.

Non-Fruiting Sweetgums
Non-fruiting American sweetgums are the best choice for fall color for most homeowners. American sweetgums that do bear seed pods (the "gumballs") are too messy for most people's tastes, although some people do use them in crafts.

Crimson Queen Japanese Maple Trees
Think you don't have room in your yard for a fall-foliage tree? Crimson Queen Japanese maple may be your answer. As a dwarf (caution, though: height will vary), this specimen is well-suited to small yards.

Tulip Trees
Tulip trees serve primarily as fast-growing shade trees, but they also offer fall-foliage interest. They receive their name from their attractive flowers (although, on mature trees, they are so high up it's hard to appreciate them). But aesthetically, I feel their golden fall color is their chief selling point.

White Ash, American Mountain Ash
Learn about two good trees for fall color: American mountain ash and white ash. In addition to being grown for their fall foliage, American mountain ashes exhibit interesting spring flowers and summer berries. While you're exploring ideas for fall foliage trees for your landscape, also discover the unique place of the ash in Viking lore.

Fall Foliage, Western Style: Quaking Aspens
When I hear "quaking aspens," my mind conjures up an autumnal scene from Colorado: vast spreads of golden leaves quivering in the breezes, with mountains in the backdrop. Of course, you can grow these trees for fall color in other locales, but there are some places where you should not grow them, as I explain here.

Trees for Fall Color and 4-Season Interest: Beeches
In this article I present different kinds of beech, concentrating on their value as trees for fall color. But these delightful specimens offer so much more than fall foliage! Particularly intriguing is the Tricolor beech, which boast multi-colored foliage.

Meet the Birches
River birches are popular in landscaping, and paper birches are well-known to anyone who has spent time out in the woods in the northern regions of North America. But there are other kinds, as well, and all of them are good trees for fall color. Learn about the yellow and weeping kinds in this article, if you're not already aware of these beauties.

Dogwood Trees for Fall Color, Spring Flowers
Admittedly, fall foliage will probably not be the first thing that comes to mind when you hear "dogwoods." I would think first of their four-petaled flowers that bring so much color to our spring and summer landscaping. But dogwoods can also bring something of value to the fall landscape.

Japanese Maples
I'm torn as to whether or not to classify Japanese maples as "fall foliage trees." By all means plant them as trees for fall color. But my conundrum stems from the fact that many Japanese maples provide you with pretty foliage during other seasons of the year, too.

Autumn Blaze Maples
Often, plant names can be downright confusing. For example, have you ever tried to figure out exactly why "falsecypress" goes by that moniker (instead of telling me what it's not, why didn't the namers just tell me what it is?)? But in the case of "Autumn Blaze," the very name indicates how good a tree for fall color it is.

Oaks: Last Call for Autumn Leaves
Timing means a great deal in landscaping. More specifically, I mean our estimation of a plant's value depends, in part, on when it looks its best. Oaks would lose a contest for the title "best tree for fall color" if competing with maples. Luckily, their peak fall foliage season often arrives later the maples', when we're glad to have the color that they offer.

Sumac: First Call for Autumn Leaves
If oaks are the last call for autumn leaves, then sumac is the first. Here in New England, sumac puts on its autumn finery earlier than most anything else. And if you do not want tall trees for fall color, then sumac is an excellent alternative, generally being more shrub-sized. Read my article to discover fascinating facts about this plant.

Ginkgo Bilobas
Ginkgo bilobas have been around for so long (going back to the dinosaurs!) that they've been called "living fossils." This fact obviously speaks to their reproductive prowess. But you probably won't wish to see this reproduction in action in your yard, as the fruits are quite smelly (so avoid female plants).

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