The Best Fall Color Trees for Your Yard
Savor the year’s most vividly hued season with a tree that transforms your yard into a bewitching wonderland of color …
Lucky are they who enjoy the full splendor of autumn pigments on their own turf! As a matter of fact, however, luck doesn’t have a lot to do with it; the choice is yours, and the time is now. Invest in one of Mother Nature’s most spectacular works of art and deck your yard in a kaleidoscope of vibrant color and rejuvenating beauty! The best fall color trees gift you with their magnificence and effervescence year after year; it’s a spellbinding visual that never loses its magic.
Check out thirteen of our best fall color trees below and pick your favorites!
- Chinese Pistache. As the Ugly Duckling of the arboreal realm, the misshapen young Chinese Pistache evolves into a beautiful, majestic, sun-loving, and tough-as-nails tree. It grows to become the gorgeous talk of the town, maturing to a moderate height of 25-35 ft. with an impeccable umbrella-shaped canopy that beautifies the landscape without obnoxiously consuming your small yard. Pistacia chinesis’ dense canopy provides exemplary shade as a patchwork of lustrous green leaves; best of all, these transform into a blazing canopy of copper and crimson fall color! Shop Chinese Pistache.
- Flowering Dogwood. Given its year-round beauty, Cornus florida is an all-American favorite prized for its gorgeous flowers, its extremely vivid fall colors that range from burgundy to reddish-purple, and its glossy berries. As one of the nation’s most popular understory trees, its 15-30 ft. height and respective spread make it an excellent specimen for small yards. This small flowering tree is annually crowned with a beautiful array of pastel-colored spring blossoms that contrast against its dark leaves and highlight the tree’s shapely rounded canopy. Shop Flowering Dogwood.
- Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry. Harboring enough beauty, strength, and pluck to reinforce its mouthful of a title, this fall color tree is more compact than other serviceberry species, emerging as a multi-stemmed shrub that can be cultivated to become a small flowering tree, with its rounded canopy scraping up to 15-25 ft. with a respective 15-25 ft. spread. It produces lavish clusters of snow-white blossoms that emit a faint and wonderful perfume. For most of the year, Amelanchier x grandiflora “Autumn Brilliance” is also adorned with a lush canopy of dark green leaves, which are later traced with Mother Nature’s fiery brushstrokes to showcase fall colors of orange, copper, and burgundy. Given its ornamental value, size, and aesthetic structure, the Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry is a prevalent choice for small yards and gardens. Shop Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry.
- Tonto Crape Myrtle. For an explosion of fantastic color without the hassle or hoarding size of a large tree, look no further than the delightful Tonto Crape Myrtle. Maturing to a compact size of 8-15 ft., the small deciduous Lagerstroemia indica “Tonto” is easily cultivated as a multi-stemmed shrub or a small single-trunk tree with a graceful wide spread. In autumn, the Tonto Crape Myrtle’s foliage shifts to luscious hues of copper-red and orange, impeccably enlivening any landscape. Its exquisite fuchsia-crimson blossoms and enchanting fall color make it an excellent flowering tree for a small yard, either as a landscape accent or as a colorful privacy wall. Shop Tonto Crape Myrtle.
- Royal Purple Smoketree. Sometimes seeming more heavenly cloud than tree, the delightfully resilient Royal Purple Smoketree is a fashion-forward specimen that adorns itself in jaw-dropping foliage and ethereal smoke-like clusters of dark pink flowers. Absolutely glorious to behold all year round, this small tree’s new leaves emerge in hues of rich burgundy red, impossible to miss. Its foliage darkens over time to become the rich scarlet-purple of delectable wine; its fall colors mark the leaves’ reversion to their former maroon-red vibrancy. Cotinus coggygria “Royal Purple” is a no-brainer when it comes to choosing a reliable standalone specimen or a shrub border for your small yard. Shop Royal Purple Smoketree.
- Sassafras. For sugar and spice and all things nice, look no further than the stunning patchwork of fall colors on the Sassafras tree, a fragrant beauty that gives your yard an annual pop of pigments. This tough, round-canopied species is characterized by either three-lobed or unique “mitten” leaves that shift from quiet green hues to bewitching autumn colors ranging from spicy golden-orange and bronze to crimson-purple and burgundy. Graceful, low-maintenance, and medium-sized, Sassafras albidum can be cultivated as a multi-stemmed shrub or a single-trunk tree within your small yard, typically growing 1-2 ft. per year. Shop Sassafras.
- Black Gum. A fantastic combination of beauty, resilience, and practicality, this shade tree is known for its stunning foliage and is lauded for being extremely adaptable. Nyssa sylvatica is shade tolerant, meaning that it grows favorable beneath more dominant trees, and it develops to a decent height of 30-50ft. This shade tree’s true splendor shines through in autumn, when the pigment of its foliage transforms from dark leathery green to spectacular shades of mauve and purple and finishes off as bright scarlet.
- Sourwood. Don’t let the Sourwood’s name fool you; this tough little tree produces sweetly fragrant blossoms and erupts in fiery fall colors, bursting with chromatism every summer and autumn. Hailed as a tree for all seasons, Oxydendrum arboreum is easy to care for; it thrives in a variety of conditions and is resilient against major pests. It is an optimal choice as a specimen tree or as a hedge, steadily growing to become a large handsome tree (typically growing to heights of 25-30 ft. with a 20 ft. spread), and enlivening any landscape in the autumn with its captivating patchwork of lively crimson, purple, and golden-bronze leaves. Shop Sourwood.
- Red Maple. Due to its sophisticated oval-to-rounded shape and its bewitching fall colors, the Red Maple is a very popular choice as an ornamental and large shade tree. Particularly colorful in the autumn due to its long-lasting vibrant leaves, Acer rubrum reaches an approximate height of 40-70 ft. with a 30-50 ft. spread and is commendably drought tolerant. The Red Maple’s seeds, twigs, and petioles are also colored various hues of red; the tree is indubitably best known for its brilliant autumnal foliage with gorgeous shades of scarlet and gold. Shop Red Maple.
- Sugar Maple. Prized for its beautiful fall colors, majestic structure, and usefulness, the hardy Sugar Maple is cherished as the nation’s principal provider of delectable maple syrup and satiny-smooth lumber—but its fall colors cannot be overlooked! Acer saccharum is a hassle-free shade tree that can grow up to 80 ft. with a 60 ft. berth and can survive over 400 years given optimal conditions. This big beauty is especially prized for its spellbinding autumn pigments that can make the leaves appear as if they’re crafted from molten gold, burnished bronze, and red rubies. Shop Sugar Maple.
- Bald Cypress. Long-lived, symmetrical, stately, and seasonally attractive, the large Bald Cypress is a fast-growing shade tree that is incredibly adaptive and features exquisite fall colors. With some Bald Cypresses reputed to be older than 1,600 years old, you can imagine the tales such a tree could tell if it could speak! Taxodium distichum is exceptional as a cone-bearing tree in that it sheds its needles each winter and regrows them in the spring; in the autumn, its feathery coppery-red foliage is an unexpected and undeniable show-stopper. Shop Bald Cypress.
- Northern Red Oak. Heralded as one of the handsomest, cleanest, and stateliest specimens, the massive Northern Red Oak is a priceless fast-growing shade tree and national treasure with breathtaking fall colors. Quercus rubra is tremendously resilient and is said to grow in even the worst conditions, including poor soil and compact space. In optimal conditions, this splendid species can survive for over 500 years and can grow up to 75 ft. It’s best distinguished by the pattern of gleaming silvery stripes along its ridged bark and by its autumn foliage of gorgeous russet brown and brilliant scarlet. Shop Northern Red Oak.
- Yellow Poplar. The gorgeous “Juno of our Groves” (as described by Thomas Jefferson) is uniquely fast-growing and long-living, boasting uncharacteristically strong wood, splendid fall colors, and a lush canopy. Thriving with plenty of water and sunlight, the mighty Liriodendron tupilifera’s large height ranges 60-150 ft. with a 30-50 ft. berth. It’s easily distinguished by its elegant tulip-shaped flowers and vibrant golden autumn foliage, and has long been popularly prized as a dependable and colorful shade tree. Shop Yellow Poplar.
Within our lush nursery, we cultivate and provide a healthy and vigorous array of dependable and gorgeous fall color trees; we’re here to help you tailor your selection to your exact needs. Whether you’ve got a small space that needs a splash of color or a larger landscape with the potential to provide magnificent tinctures to the landscape for centuries to come, you can find the perfect fall color tree that will suit your environment, budget, and taste. Color your world!
- Jackie Errico