Plant fall color at home

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first_imgBy Jim MidcapUniversity of GeorgiaFall has slowly slipped up on us. The nights are suddenly cooler,the days are shorter and recent rains have refreshed our woodsand landscapes. And the fall leaf season is just around thecorner.With cool nights, bright days and adequate moisture, the turningof the leaves could be spectacular. While we’re admiring all thereds, oranges and yellows, we should be planting our own fallcolor.Fall is the perfect time to plant young trees while you’reenjoying the spectacular fall leaves. Our nurseries and gardencenters stock up on a variety of trees for fall planting.Try these selections at homeHere are some trees that offer outstanding fall color. Some arereadily available. Others will be harder to find.The trident maple is a handsome, tough treewith an upright, ovalshape. Its leaves are pest-free, lustrous dark green andthree-lobed. The foliage changes in fall to a rich yellow andred.The bark is a striking gray to orange-brown that exfoliates.These plants withstand drought and infertile soils. Reaching 25to 35 feet tall, they’re hardy throughout the state.Red maple is a swamp native that grows 40 to60 feet tall. Youngtrees are pyramidal, becoming rounded to irregular at maturity.The reddish spring flowers are followed by bright red fruit.The smooth, gray bark is attractive. Fall leaves develop intoglorious yellows and reds. Named selections are widely available,with “October Glory” and “Autumn Blaze” offering reliable color.Many native hickories put on a spectacularshow year after year.They’re seldom available at nurseries because they’re hard totransplant. You may want to collect seeds and start your owntrees on the edge of the woods.Hickory leaves turn brilliant yellow to golden in the fall. Theleaves and nuts are a little messy, and the trees grow slowly.Most grow in deep, moist, well-drained soils as well as on dry,upland sites. Don’t buy femalesThe ginkgo is old, its unique, fan-shapedleaves embedded in thefossil record. It’s very slowly becoming established. Youngplants are gaunt and open but become full and dense with age. Itbecomes a mature specimen when the bright green leaves turn abrilliant, clear yellow in the fall.The leaves suddenly will cascade to the ground in a single day.Buy male trees when possible. Females produce fruits that developa rancid odor as they mature.These trees and many others can brighten your fall landscape. Besure to select trees adapted to your site to ensure the successof your planting project. Spicy fragrance a bonusThe elegant katsura tree is pyramidal tostart with and becomesan upright oval form with age. The leaves mature to blue-greenand turn a rich yellow to apricot in the fall. As an added bonus,the falling leaves give off a spicy fragrance.The brown, shaggy bark provides year-round interest. There are noserious insect or disease problems. However, the katsura treerequires moisture during droughts to prevent early leaf drop. Thetrees grow 40 to 60 feet tall and are hardy statewide.American yellowwood is an uncommon nativetree that’s not widelysold. Trees are low-branching with broad, rounded crowns. Thewhite spring flowers produce a spectacular show but may bloomonly in alternate years.The larger branches and trunk are smooth and gray. Yellowwoodmakes an excellent medium-sized 30 to 50 feet tall specimen tree.They’re hardy throughout the state.Sourwood is one of our best native trees forfall color. It’sdelicately pyramidal with drooping branches. Young leaves matureto a lustrous dark green and turn red to maroon in the fall.The white flowers come in 4- to 10-inch panicles in June andJuly. Sourwood is great for naturalizing native sites in sun orpartial shade. The trees reach 25 to 35 feet tall and do best innorthern Georgia.last_img

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