Home Tip Tuesday: Top Trees for Fall Color

Best options for fall color provide interest in the yard all seasons.
Autumn Blaze Maple Via Fast Growing Trees

You know it's autumn when the flames of hot summer temperatures transform into flames of hot color in the landscape. Golds, reds, russets and oranges-nothing says fall like fiery foliage. The top trees for fall color don't limit their dazzle to one season. The best options provide interest in the yard all four seasons, with a little extra pizazz for autumn. In addition to year-long beauty, it's important to remember that some of nature's most beautiful fall color comes from trees that aren't well suited for the residential landscape. Sugar maples and Quaking aspen both have aggressive roots that don't play nice with pavement or underground pipes. If in doubt, consult with a knowledgeable garden expert in your area.

Autumn Blaze Red Maple (Acer x freemanii) Zones 4-8
Big mounds of scarlet-red leaves are iconic to the autumn landscape. Autumn Blaze provides all the classic fall color you want in a fast-growing tree that reaches up to 60-feet high and 40-feet wide. It's also pest- and disease-resistant and can withstand drought conditions. Autumn Blaze is practically the perfect landscape tree. It has won several "tree of the year" awards thanks to its beauty and easygoing style. 

Ginkgo Tree

Ginkgo (G. biloba) Zones 4-9
If a shower of lemon-gold leaves is your idea of autumnal heaven, the unique Ginkgo tree may be for you. Also known as the Maidenhair Tree, modern Ginkgos have the distinction of being classified as "living fossils" because they are the last living descendants of trees that grew 200 million years ago. Related to conifers, Ginkgos have unusual fan-shaped leaves instead of needles. They can grow up to 80-feet tall, but about 40-feet is more common. 

Smoke Bush
Daylily Paradise

Smoke Bush (Cotinus coggygria) Zones 5-8
Smoke Bush or Smoke Tree, is perfect for making a big impact in a small yard. If left alone, this plant has a natural shrubby shape, but is often pruned as a small tree for use when space is at a minimum or a striking specimen is desired. Smoke Tree is truly a year-round beauty with a blanket of yellow blossoms in June, fuzzy hairs that give the illusion the plant is surrounded by pinkish-purple smoke in the summer and classic red and orange foliage in fall. Varieties of Smoke Tree can also sport purple, scarlet red or lime-green leaves.

Pomegranate Tree 
Via Edible Landscape

Pomegranate (Punica granatum) Zones 7-10
Available in both ornamental and edible varieties, pomegranates are too-often overlooked as a fall spectacle. The hot-orange waxy flowers of the pomegranate are so striking they almost look like fakes. In early fall the first red bulbs of fruit begin to appear and as the season continues, the fruit stands out like ornaments against the golden yellow leaves of the tree. Some pomegranates grow up to 12-15 feet tall. 

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