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Trees With Autumn Color

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Trees with colorful autumn foliage are at their best from mid-to-late autumn. Make the most of trees with colorful autumn foliage by planting them where they can be seen from windows in your house or along well-traveled paths or drives.

Autumn leaves will be especially brilliant after a hot summer, but after a mild summer, they may not last as long. To ensure the brightest and longest autumn color, begin restricting water to any plant that starts to develop color after the end of summer, but do not let plants dry out completely. Trees that color in late autumn still need some water in early autumn.

Here’s a list of trees that provide plenty of autumn color (click on red to learn more about the genus of the tree you are interested in):

Trees with Autumn color

A-C Common NameBotanical NameZone
Ash, GreenFraxinus pennsylvanica3-9
Beech, AmericanFagus grandifolia3-9
Birch, European whiteBetula pendula2-7
Birch, PaperBetula, papyifera2-5
Birch, WhitespireBetula platphylla ‘Whitespire’4-7
Cherry, KwanzanPrunus serrulate ‘Kwanzan’5-8
Cherry, SargentPrunus sargentii4-7
Cherry, Weeping HiganPrunus subhirtella ‘Pendula’4-8
Chokeberry, AmurPrunus maackii2-6
CrabappleMalus spp.4-8
Crape MyrtleLagerstroemia indica7-9
Ginkgo trees in autumn
D-L Common NameBotanical NameZone
Dogwood, FloweringCornus florida5-9
Dogwood, KousaCornus kousa5-8
Elm, ChineseUlmus parvifolia5-9
GinkgoGinko biloba3-9
Hawthorn, CockspurCrataegus crus-galli ‘Inemis’4-7
Hawthorn, WashingtonCrataegus phaenopyrum3-9
Honeylocust, ThornlessGleditsia triacanthos inermis3-8
Hornbeam, AmericanCarpinus caroliniana3-9
Katsura TreeCercidiphyllum japonicum4-8
Linden, LittleleafTilia cordata3-7
Sugar Maple in autumn
M Common NameBotanical NameZone
Maple, AmurAcer tataricum ginnala2-6
Maple, JapaneseAcer palmatum5-8
Maple, PaperbackAcer griseum4-8
Maple, RedAcer, rubrum3-9
Maple, SugarAcer, saccharum4-8
Maple, TridentAcer, buergerianum4-8
Mayday TreePrunus padus commutata3-6
Mountain Ash, EuropeanSorbus aucupario4-7
Chinese Pistachio, Pistacia chinensis
0-R Common NameBotanical NameZone
Oak, Northern RedQuercus rubra4-7
Oak, PinQuercus palustris4-8
Oak, ScarletQuercus coccinea4-9
Oak, ShumardQuercus shumardii5-9
Oak, WhiteQuercus, alba4-9
Pear, CalleryPyrus calleryana4-8
Pistachio, ChinesePistacia chinensis6-9
PossumhawIlex decidua3-9
Quaking AspenPopulus termuloides2-6
RedbudCercis canadensis3-9
Sweet Gum tree, Liquidamber,
Sweet Gum tree, Liquidamber, turns vibrant colors during autumn
S-Z Common NameBotanical NameZone
Serviceberry, DownyAmelanchier arobrea4-9
Serviceberry, ShadblowAmelanchier canadensis3-8
Smoke TreeCotinus coggyria4-8
Snowbell, JapaneseStyrax japonicum5-8
Stewartia, JapaneseStewartia pseudocamellia5-7
Sweet GumLiquidamber styraciflua ‘Rotundiloba’5-9
YellowwoodCladrastis lutea6-8

Also of interest:

Trees in Garden Design

How to Plant a Tree

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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