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Top Trees and Shrubs for Fall Color

Add an explosion of fiery hues to your yard this fall with these trees and shrubs.

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    • Sugar Maple

      A great, extra-reliable tree that makes a big statement in fall, sugar maple offers gorgeous red, orange, or yellow end-of-the-season leaves.

      Name: Acer saccharum

      Growing Conditions: Sun to shade and moist, well-drained soil

      Size: To 70 feet tall

      Zones: 4-8

      Native to North America: Yes

    • Dogwood

      Dogwoods look great just about any time of year. They're most loved for their white or pink springtime flowers, but don't overlook the gorgeous purple-red tones they'll bring to your fall landscape.

      Name: Cornus kousa

      Growing Conditions: Sun to shade and moist, well-drained soil

      Size: To 25 feet tall

      Zones: 5-8

      Native to North America: No

    • Chokeberry

      A wonderful shrub in several seasons, chokeberry offers white flowers that look like apple blossoms in spring; rich red fruits in late summer and autumn; and brilliant orange-red fall foliage.

      Name: Aronia arbutifolia

      Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade and moist, but well-drained soil

      Size: To 10 feet tall and 6 feet wide

      Zones: 4-9

      Native to North America: Yes

    • Stewartia

      This top-notch tree looks beautiful throughout the year. Its dark green leaves make a nice foil for the late-summer, white camellia-shape flowers. In fall, the leaves turn festive shades of orange, yellow, and red.

      Name: Stewartia pseudocamellia

      Growing Conditions: Full sun and moist, well-drained soil

      Size: To 70 feet tall

      Zones: 5-8

      Native to North America: No

    • Ginkgo

      Slow-growing ginkgo adds grace to the landscape; its fan-shaped leaves are among the most elegant of any tree. In autumn, they show breathtaking shades of luminous, golden-yellow. After the leaves drop, you'll be waiting for next fall.

      Name: Ginkgo biloba

      Growing Conditions: Sun to shade and moist, well-drained soil

      Size: To 100 feet tall

      Zones: 4-9

      Native to North America: No

    • Amur Maple

      Another top-notch maple for fall color, Amur maple is a small tree or large shrub (depending how you prune it) that bears bright red leaves in fall.

      Name: Acer ginnala

      Growing Conditions: Sun and moist, well-drained soil

      Size: To 25 feet tall

      Zones: 3-7

      Native to North America: No

    • Fall Tree Care Guide

      Follow these easy steps to keep your tree looking its best this fall.

    • Sumac

      An incredibly tough shrub, sumac provides some of the brightest red color you'll see in autumn. One note, though: While extra-tough and beautiful, sumac is a fast spreader and is not a great choice for small-space landscapes.

      Name: Rhus typhina

      Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

      Size: To 15 feet tall

      Zones: 3-8

      Native to North America: Yes

    • Viburnum

      This rounded shrub offers beautiful clusters of white flowers in spring, then bright foliage in warm shades of red come autumn. Those eye-catching leaves are accented by ruby-red fruits.

      Name: Viburnum trilobum

      Growing Conditions: Sun to part shade and moist, well-drained soil

      Size: To 15 feet tall

      Zones: 2-7

      Native to North America: Yes

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      Serviceberry

      A plant for season-long beauty, we adore serviceberry for its display of white springtime flowers, delicious summer fruits, and amazing orange and red fall foliage.

      Name: Amelanchier canadensis

      Growing Conditions: Full sun or part shade and moist, well-drained soil

      Size: To 20 feet tall

      Zones: 3-7

      Native to North America: Yes

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      Bald Cypress

      A "fooled-you" plant come autumn, bald cypress looks like an evergreen conifer. But in fall, the needles turn russet-red before dropping from the tree, revealing the tree's dramatic architectural shape that you can enjoy all winter.

      Name: Taxodium distichum

      Growing Conditions: Sun and moist or wet soil

      Size: To 120 feet tall

      Zones: 5-10

      Native to North America: Yes

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      Sweet Gum

      Sweet gum's star-shape leaves turn a kaleidoscope of colors -- including red, orange, and burgundy -- giving the landscape a carnival feel at season's end.

      Name: Liquidambar styraciflua

      Growing Conditions: Sun to shade and well-drained soil

      Size: To 80 feet tall

      Zones: 6-9

      Native to North America: Yes

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      Fothergilla

      A wonderful but underused shade-loving shrub, fothergilla offers blue-green foliage in spring and summer. Its leaves reveal warm shades of gold and orange in fall. And fothergilla has honey-scented springtime flowers to boot.

      Name: Fothergilla major

      Growing Conditions: Shade and moist, well-drained soil

      Size: To 6 feet tall

      Zones: 5-8

      Native to North America: Yes

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      Virginia Sweetspire

      Enjoy this great shrub for months. In summer, it offers fragrant white flowers. Then in autumn, it develops rich purple-red leaf color. Plus, it's very easy to grow.

      Name: Itea virginica

      Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade and moist, well-drained soil

      Size: To 10 feet tall

      Zones: 5-9

      Native to North America: Yes

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      Oakleaf Hydrangea

      One of our favorite shrubs for shade, oakleaf hydrangea offers beautiful clusters of white blooms in summer, then wonderful burgundy fall foliage.

      Name: Hydrangea quericifolia

      Growing Conditions: Shade and moist, well-drained soil

      Size: To 6 feet tall

      Zones: 5-9

      Native to North America: Yes

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      Witch Hazel

      A true plant for autumn, witch hazel leaves turn golden-yellow in fall. As they drop, they're joined by delightful spidery yellow flowers.

      Name: Hamamelis virginiana

      Growing Conditions: Shade and moist, well-drained soil

      Size: To 12 feet tall

      Zones: 3-8

      Native to North America: Yes

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      Japanese Maple

      One of the best-known plants for an autumn show, Japanese maple turns on their glowing shades of red, orange, or yellow at season's end.

      Name: Acer palmatum

      Growing Conditions: Shade to part shade and moist, but well-drained soil

      Size: To 25 feet tall

      Zones: 6-9

      Native to North America: No

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      Sweet Birch

      A beautiful tree, we love sweet birch for its cinnamon-colored peeling bark and triangular dark green leaves that turn beautiful golden-yellow in fall.

      Name: Betula lenta

      Growing Conditions: Sun to shade and moist, well-drained soil

      Size: To 50 feet tall

      Zones: 3-7

      Native to North America: Yes

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      Burning Bush

      This tough shrub earned its common name because of its autumn hues: In fall, the foliage turns glowing shades of red and pink. It's a knock-your-socks-off plant!

      Name: Euonymus alatus

      Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

      Size: To 20 feet tall

      Zones: 4-8

      Native to North America: No

      Note: This plant can be an invasive pest in some areas. Check local restrictions before planting it.

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      Smokebush

      Loved as much for its summer purple or gold foliage and plumes of soft, shimmery flowers, smokebush also offers great fall color --- often in bold shades of orange and pink.

      Name: Cotinus coggygria

      Growing Conditions: Shade to part shade and moist, but well-drained soil

      Size: To 15 feet tall and wide

      Zones: 5-8

      Native to North America: No

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      Next Slideshow Our Favorite Small Trees

      Our Favorite Small Trees

      Small trees can pack a big punch into your landscape. Here are some of our editors' favorite varieties.
      Begin Slideshow »

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