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Travelers seek the most scenic locations to view the best of fall foliage every year. | Photo: Yuguesh Fagoonee - Fotolia.com

Brilliant Fall Foliage: Best Trees for Fall Color

October 21, 2013

Pumpkins, scarves, boots and jackets, a certain spiced coffee drink—these are all classic signs that fall is here. But the most quintessential fall favorite is the oranges, browns, and reds of crisp fall foliage leaves.

From jumping in piles of leaves to crunching on them while walking around your neighborhood on trick-or-treat night, most people have fond memories of the leaves changing and falling.

One way to keep the tradition of a colorful fall landscape alive in your own back yard is planting trees that create those beautiful hues we’ve come to know and love. Here’s a list of trees that deliver the best fall foliage leaves.

Top 10 Trees with Best Foliage in the Fall

  1. Maple is quintessential for fall tree color. Maple trees demand attention with bright apricot leaves that contrast with burnt orange. Maples come in a variety of sizes, so they work in any landscape.
  2. Sweetgum is a fast-growing tree with glorious, red leaves that pop in autumn. Sweetgum trees have glossy, star-shaped leaves that stay longer on the tree, allowing you to bask in its dynamic colors into late fall.
  3. Sweet birch turns brassy yellow in the fall. Sweet birch trees offer copious amounts of shade in the summer, fend off the bronze birch borer better than any other birch, and have a sugary sap that can be used to brew homemade birch soda.
  4. Katsura welcomes autumn with a spicy-sweet smell and tangerine color. The katsura tree grows in a pyramid-like shape with an extraordinarily straight trunk and heart-shaped leaves.
  5. Ginkgo trees showcase a lustrous yellow on their fan-shaped leaves every fall. With the ability to grow up to 80 feet tall, ginkgos fiercely resist insects, disease, and pollution.
  6. Smokebush transforms into a crimson red after a summer sprinkled with yellow flowers. Smokebush is a shrub that can be pruned into a small tree with the help of a certified arborist.
  7. Witch hazel is a small tree with big yellow color. Witch hazel offers the full package, complete with fragrance, flowers, and glowing color in every season.
  8. Red-twig dogwood features ruby red leaves and then unveils red stems. This dogwood blossoms with clusters of white flowers that mature into plum-colored fruit to attract birds in spring.
  9. Sassafras trees repel mosquitoes and dazzle with pumpkin-colored leaves of various shapes. Sassafras smells heavily of licorice, which makes it a delightful treat for wildlife.
  10. Redbud has goldenrod leaves in the fall and delicate pink flowers in the spring. The redbud tree is a small tree with a rounded crown and a forked, light-colored trunk.

Ever wonder how leaves get their color? Find out here!

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