Seeking A Winter Color Fix

Seeking A Winter Color Fix

Now that Mother Nature's typical winter persona has dumped inches (and feet) of snow onto my home, car and landscape, I find myself wishing there was something more to look at besides the blinding, stark blankets of white that now cover just about anything in sight.

How many more weeks are there until spring?

As others might look forward to Valentine's Day this time of the year, I spend my January counting down the days until Feb. 2, or Groundhog Day. It's funny how serious I take Punxsutawney Phil's reaction to the sunlight, or lack thereof. But who among us hasn't hoped the groundhog wouldn't see his shadow so we could quickly cross winter off of the list and start planning for warming days and blooming plants?

I realize the weather is unpredictable, but I admit at times I allow my wishful thinking to get the best of me. It's unavoidable. But when winter makes me feel this way, I try to take a moment or two to appreciate the outdoor, scenic masterpiece Mother Nature is providing me at the moment. Although the fluffy, white snowflakes don't quite compare to spring's vibrant flowers, I enjoy winter's beauty, too. The appearance of white snow on the branches of my trees outside the back window is stunning. I can see sparkling snowflakes for quite some distance - they fall upon clusters of the bare deciduous trees that line the end of my property.

JapMapleIce iStock Jodi Jacobson
Japanese maple laced with ice. Photo: Jodi Jacobson/iStock

However, one tree sticks out among the rest. Its burgundy stems pop amongst the monotony of white surrounding the landscape. When I need a break from the winter drab - the endless snow piles, the slush and salt residue - my eyes turn to my Japanese maple tree.

The Japanese maple, a species of several different colors and shapes, is one of many trees that can add color to your landscape all four seasons of the year. Its reddish bark not only adds a bit of color among winter's grays and white snow, but its vibrant leaves, ranging from deep reds to fiery oranges and yellows, also stand out among most other foliage in autumn.

Winterberry iStock Zorani
Winterberry. Photo: Zorani/iStock

The Japanese maple is available in several different varieties that serve numerous purposes within varying climates and environments. A few beautiful varieties include the 'Bloodgood,' 'Aconitifolium' and 'Aureum,'all of which impress us with their diverse colors - spectrums that begin with spring's luscious, bright flowers and end with winter's bits of visual interest.

Other colorful winter trees include winterberry, evergreen hollies, paperbark cherry and the possumhaw holly. Winterberries retain their scarlet red and orange fruit through mid-winter. The hollies maintain their green color into the winter months, much like familiar evergreens such as spruces and pines. And paperbark cherries show off their shiny, vibrant, reddish bark among dreary landscapes.

Experiencing a lack of color this winter? Research trees that make vibrant, colorful additions to your property during the less colorful months. Then, when you need that winter pick-me-up, you won't be sorry.

Add a comment:
Related Blog Posts
  • Fruit, Shade and Curbside Trees with Non-Invasive Root Systems

    If there are obstacles like sidewalks close to your planting site, pick a tree with a non-invasive, small root system.

    Below, learn the benefits of these trees and discover which tree is best for you!

    Read More
  • Spring ... with a Cherry on Top

    Washington, D.C. is already a gorgeous place with striking architecture like the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial, as well as the museums and surrounding landscapes. But in spring when the cherry blossoms are in bloom around the Tidal Basin, brilliant mounds of white and soft pink completely surround the space like scented clouds. And, like magic, they are instantly multiplied as they are reflected in the pool. Some describe it as "breathtaking" or "a feast for the eyes." Others call it "one of nature's best shows." And, this year, a mild winter means the show might go on a bit early, according to the National Park Service.

    If you want to see the cherry blossoms during peak bloom, the Park Service suggests planning your visit between March 24th and March 28th this year. National Park Service horticulturists monitor five distinct stages of bud development to determine peak bloom, which they define as the point when 70 percent of the blossoms are open. Flowers will still be on the trees for several days on either side of peak bloom. If you prefer to see the puffy white blossoms, arrive four to six days before peak bloom, the National Park Service suggests. The floral fireworks will continue after the peak dates as well. But within one to two weeks of peak bloom, the trees will have shed their blossoms and transition to a fresh green color as the leaves come through.

    Typically, average peak bloom for D.C.'s cherry trees is April 4, but the mild winter means an earlier bloom this year. Last year's peak bloom happened March 29. Peak bloom in 2010 was March 30. Usually, cherry blossom trees survive for approximately 50 years. But the city still has just more than 100 of the original 3,000 trees given to the city by Japan in 1912. Those original trees are near the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial. Thousands of other trees have been replaced or grown from the original trees' genetic line.

    Read More

Request a consultation

What do you need services for?
Sorry, we can’t seem to find the zip code you specified. Our residential tree care offices may not service your area. If you believe this is an error, please try again. Need help? Email us at
  • Email newsletter
  • Woodchips
*Please fill out all required fields.