Trees with great fall foliage
Plant one of these in your landscape for vibrant autumn color for years to come. -- Jessica Damiano
Korean mountain ash (Sorbus alnifolia) Actually a member of the rose family, this underused beauty provides true four-season interest, starting with white flowers in spring, then reddish-orange berries in summer, orange autumn foliage and shiny bark in winter, making it worth seeking out. Expect it to exceed 40 feet in height.
Japanese maple Hogyoku (Acer palmatum Hogyoku) Living up to its name, which means "jewel of fall," Hogyoku has light green, almost chartreuse leaves that give way to a bright pumpkin orange show in fall. Once established, it grows 10-12 inches a year, peaking out at 12-15 feet at maturity.
Eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis) Expect this small tree to top out at about 20 feet and its showy foliage to take a few years to reach its prime. But springtime purple-pink flowers are abundant and striking from the very beginning.
Birch (Betula sp.) While these fast growers can tolerate partial shade, plant in full sun for best color. Acidic soil is necessary for good health. In addition to a bright autumn leaf show, many species exhibit fabulous exfoliating bark.
Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) Unusual fan-shaped leaves on these large trees put on a spectacular show in fall and then drop quickly, which is convenient if you don't like the ritual of repeated raking. A good choice for the coast, these trees thrive in sandy soil and tolerate salt well. Can grow to 80 feet.
Cornus - dogwood tree (cornus florida) - credit: United States National Arboretum photo
Sugar maple (Acer saccharum) The national tree of Canada, the sugar maple will grow to 60-75 feet in your landscape and show off an eye-catching display of orange in autumn. As a bonus, when its trunk reaches 10 inches in diameter, you can start making your own maple syrup from its sap.
Hawthorn (Crataegus phaenopyrum) Reaching heights of 25-30 feet, hawthorns are considered medium-sized trees. In June their white flowers last only about a week, but their fall display is followed by bright red berries that hang on all winter long.