Top 10 Best Trees for Brilliant Fall Foliage

By: albertaarb - November 20, 2013

Every autumn, trees across the country develop spectacular and colorful fall foliage. Some people travel long distances to see these beautiful trees. The good news is you can experience nature's beauty by planting trees that produce stunning foliage in your backyard. Here are the top 10 trees for the best foliage.


Maple tree is one of the most common trees when it comes to fall color. Although there are different maple species, Sugar maple is quite popular. It can grow up to 75 feet tall, which means it requires a spacious backyard. The color of sugar maple leaves varies depending on the time of the year and ranges from yellow all the way to red in fall. If you do not have enough space in your backyard for such a large tree, consider other species that are much smaller such as Vine maple. However, you should avoid invasive maple species such as Norway and Amur. The red maple is another quintessential fall tree that produces deep red or yellow leaves.

Bald Cypress

The bald cypress is a deciduous coniferous tree that you can find in many parts of North America. Its leaves usually have a majestic orange red color.

Katsura Tree

Katsura is a tree with rounded leaves that turn yellow or pink yellow in fall. Another great benefit of having this tree in your backyard is it produces a spicy fragrance as it sheds leaves. This tree can grow up to 60 feet tall and the branches form a pyramid shape when it is young.


The gingko tree can grow up to 80 feet tall and its leaves turn yellow in fall. Its fan shaped leaves are similar to those of the maidenhair fern. Unlike the pyramid shaped katsura tree, gingko trees have an umbrella shape. In addition, the gingko can resist diseases and insect infestations.

Witch Hazel

Witch hazel is a colorful shrub with leaves that turn yellow in fall. Its flowers are also yellow in color and remain on the shrub even after all the leaves have fallen off. For people who would love to have a plant that produces sweet smell, witch hazel is a good choice.

Smoke Tree

Smoke tree (smoke bush) is a small tree that starts flowering around June. These flowers disappear by fall to give way to yellow or orange red leaves.Unlike the other trees and shrubs described above, one can prune the smoke tree to grow into a small tree. Alternatively, one can allow it to grow into a shrub. Some common species that you can plant include Ancot for lime green foliage or Royal Purple for purple foliage. You can also plant different species together to create a kaleidoscope of fall color.


Although this is a fruit tree, you can also use it as part of your fall color tree selection. Nevertheless, some pomegranates do not bear edible fruit. If you would like to plant edible fruit bearing pomegranates, go for "Ambrosia" or "Wonderful" species.Their fruit, which resembles Christmas tree decorations, will add color to the bright yellow leaves. Other species that you can plant include "Nana" and "Chico."


The leaves of the Sweetgum tree are star shaped and turn red in autumn. As the days become shorter, the Sweetgum's leaves turn yellowish purple or yellowish red. It does not shed all its leaves and some will remain on the tree throughout the fall season. Sweetgum is a fast growing tree, which means you can have a colorful backyard in a few years.


The blueberry's leaves can turn orange, wine red, or yellow in fall. This is in addition to the berries that turn blue. It is important to note that some blueberry species "Northern types" do well in areas where the weather is cold. Although the "Northern types" can grow in warmer climates, they will not bear berries.


Another tree that you can plant in your backyard for fall color is the sassafras. The leaves of this native North American tree will have colors such as purple, yellow, orange, and scarlet in fall.

Planting a tree is by no way an easy task. As such, it would be wise to hire tree care experts to plant trees for you and when the time comes, prune them accordingly. Arborists can help you choose the perfect tree for your backyard, hence, ensuring that the tree has a better chance of living a long and healthy life.

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