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Landscape Trees for Autumn Foliage

An Overview of Autumn Foliage Choices


pin oak tree with its fall foliage

Photo of a pin oak tree with its autumn foliage colors.

David Beaulieu

Follow these links for pictures and descriptions of landscape trees offering the best autumn foliage. Plant these ornamental specimens and your fall yard will bask in the glow of their autumn foliage. This piece is an overview; for more details, please consult the articles linked to below.

White Ash, American Mountain Ash for Autumn Foliage

Learn about two types of ash grown for their autumn foliage: American mountain ash and white ash. In addition to autumn foliage, the American mountain ash exhibits interesting spring flowers and summer berries.

Quaking Aspen: Symbol of the American West

The autumn foliage of quaking aspen is almost synonymous with fall in the American West. The proclivity of its leaves to tremble in the breeze is as famous as their golden-yellow color. Find out where -- and where not -- to grow this autumn foliage standout.

Landscape Trees for Year-Round Interest: Beech

Learn about 3 types of beech grown for their autumn foliage. American beech and European beech are autumn foliage standouts that also provide winter interest. Meanwhile, Tricolor beech has colorful variegated leaves that will be prominent in your landscaping spring, summer and fall.

Landscape Trees for Form and Texture: Birch

The birches provide more than just colorful autumn foliage. Their bark is as interesting as their leaves, as its characteristic shedding pattern provides interesting texture. The classic (paper) birch has bark with a white color, but other colors are available (e.g., yellow). Still other birches have a weeping form. All of these fine autumn foliage landscape trees display yellow leaves in fall.

Landscape Trees for Spring and Fall: Dogwood

When we think of dogwood, we immediate think, "flowering." And indeed, dogwoods put on an impressive display in spring with their flowering. But dogwoods also bear attractive autumn foliage. Two dogwood trees with different fall colors are described here.

"Autumn Foliage" Year-Round: Japanese Maples

Japanese maple trees bear fine autumn foliage. But compared to most specimens, even the spring and summer leaves of some Japanese maples are like "autumn foliage." In addition, some cultivars have a weeping habit, while many have an appealing lacy leaf-type. This introduction briefly describes "Bloodgood," "Crimson Queen," "Filigree" and red Japanese maples.

Quintessential Autumn Foliage: Maples

If I were putting together a dictionary, the entry for the season, "fall" would have next to it a picture of some stately maples, adorned in their red, yellow and orange autumn foliage. Among the natives species of eastern North America, it is certainly the maples that bring out the most leaf-peepers, to gaze at their spectacular fall colors.

The Sturdiest of Landscape Trees: Oaks

The autumn foliage of the oaks is not as spectacular as that of the maples. But oak leaves turn later in the fall than do maple leaves (November in the northeastern U.S.), allowing you to extend the autumn foliage season. And of course, oaks lend their legendary sturdiness to any yard in which they appear. Learn about red oaks, white oaks and pin oaks.

Underrated Landscape Trees: Sumac

Poison sumac is only one variety of sumac, and it is easily distinguished from the non-poisonous varieties. The latter should be considered as potential landscape trees (or shrubs, as they are sometimes classified), since they provide splendid autumn foliage and are easy to grow. In addition, sumac has been used for culinary purposes, for erosion control, and as a wind break. It also attracts birds.

On Page 2 we'll look at a few more trees that will furnish your yard with bright autumn foliage....

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