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Connecticut Garden Journal: Fall Foliage

Oct 13, 2016

Ahh, October in Connecticut. Cool weather, pumpkins, hot cider and gorgeous fall foliage. While Mother Nature does a pretty good job serving up an abundance of color in fall, we can add to the rainbow of beauty in our own yards.

There are many lesser known, native trees, beside maples, that offer beautiful fall foliage. Native trees are good to plant for their adaptability to our soils and climate, use as wildlife trees and their non invasive habit. Here's some of my favorites.

Redbuds are part shade tolerant, 20 to 30 foot tall trees that are mostly grown for their neon pink flowers in early spring. But another great feature of this native is the fall foliage. The leaves turn bright yellow, and some varieties such as 'Forest Pansy' have reddish purple fall leaves.

For another small tree or large shrub, try the smokebush. Smokebush produce cotton candy like flowers in mid summer on 15 foot tall plants. Come fall the leaves turn a brilliant yellow to orange-red color. 'Royal Purple' has scarlet colored fall leaves.

Amelanchier or serviceberry trees are workhorses in the garden. They grow  20 plus feet tall in part shade with white flowers in spring, edible blueberries in summer and brilliant red and purple leaves in fall.

Finally, if you're looking for some late fall color, try the scarlet oak. 

Scarlet oak leaves.
Credit Steven Severinghaus flickr.com/photos/horsepunchkid / Creative Commons

True to their name, scarlet oaks produce red leaves that hold on the tree well after all the other leaves in the forest have dropped. This is a large tree, so give it plenty of room to grow.

Next week on the Connecticut Garden Journal, I'll be talking about how to keep critters away from your bulbs. Until then, I'll be seeing you in the garden.