The fab five trees for fall, here you go folks these are by no means the complete list, but they are my faves. Normally most of the spectacular fall colours would be gone and done by November, but this year the leaves are hanging in there!
Lucky us, gives me a little more time to get in those family Christmas photos…if I could only collect us together, and actually dressed respectably and not in soccer or gymnastic or biking gear for long enough to take a picture!
The first tree is actually a grouping of trees Acer rubrum or Red Maple cultivars. October Glory, Morgan, Scarlet Sunset, Autumn Flame to name a few. These are in my humble opinion an amazing and under rated tree. They are relatively trouble free, tough hardy to zone 4, and can take a bit of sogginess now and then…its other common name is the swamp maple. Though a good humic, well drained soil in sun to part shade is ideal.
The fall colours are amazing from bright flame red, to yellow, orange and burgundy on the same tree at the same time to an amazing burgundy red depending on the cultivar. These trees also have a really neat early red bloom, quite attractive for a maple! They are a larger tree from 30 to 60 feet depending on the cultivar and tend to be an upright oval in shape.
Acer griseum, the paperbark maple. I do love the scarlet fall foliage! It is really quite stunning I wish it lasted longer!! Though once the leaves are off you do have that lovely cinnamon coloured peeling bark all winter long. The new growth is a rust colour changing to green followed by bright red winged seeds. Actually a great tree for any time of year! This is a smaller maple, slower growing to about 30 feet. It prefers well drained healthy soil, sun or part shade.
Ginkgo biloba has amazing buttery yellow fall colour. I think we can’t have enough yellow to brighten up those cold rainy days. Hey, the absolutely coolest thing about this tree, ok, except for helping your memory, is that it is actually a living fossil. The Ginkgo dates back 270 million years! Gingko’s are large trees relatively trouble free and very tough. According to Wikipedia, six Ginkgo trees growing in Japan, survived the Atom bomb explosion and are in fact still alive today. Ginkgos do like full sun and drainage is a must.
Stewartia pseudocamellia. Actually there are a lot of things about this tree that I like. We’ll start with the rich burgundy fall colour, reliably. For the winter you have the intriguing mottled flaking green and grey and almond coloured bark and zig zag branch patterning and for the late spring you have the white with yellow centered camellia like flowers that always seem to fall sunny side up. What is not to like about that!!
It is a small tree to approximately 20 feet in 20 years. It prefers well drained, humic soil in sun to light shade.
The final tree of the fab five bunch may well have the most dramatic fall colour. Known as the Sweet Gum, or Liquidambar styraciflua, this tree actually looks like it’s plugged in! From the inside out the leaves turn yellow, orange, red and deep burgundy on the outermost leaves giving the tree an almost glowing effect. The leaves hang on well into the winter and smell of eucalyptus when crushed. The corky looking furrowed silvery bark is kind of pretty in the winter with a bit of snow on it too!
It too is a pretty trouble free tree, with lovely lush glossy green leaves in the summer. It is a larger tree but grows at a nice sedate pace 35 feet in about 20 years. It does like a humic well drained soil in sun to part shade.
This list is by no means exhaustive…there are many more out there. Take the Japanese maples…I think they need a whole article unto themselves!!
If you are hunting for the perfect fall focal point come and visit us or go out to your local park or garden with your camera. There are some great fall shots out there. VanDusen, UBC, Sendall Gardens, Redwood Park these are some of my favorite places to get fall inspiration.
Let us know some of yours!