Top 5 Trees for Fall Color in California

2 Jan

Top 5 Trees for Fall Color in California

Such as the myths that everybody in Silicon Valley is an entrepreneur and every server in Los Angeles is an actor, people say that California has no seasons — and no fall foliage. But look about in fall. A number of great garden trees which dependably brighten areas and public spaces using colorful fall leaves put that myth to rest.

The New York Botanical Garden

The New York Botanical Garden

Ginkgo, or Maidenhair Tree
(Ginkgo biloba)

A rugged and dependable big tree, ginkgo places on a stunning show in late fall — in California, frequently closer to Christmas than Halloween. Green leaves (shaped like a maidenhair fern) turn buttery yellow or gold all simultaneously, and after a week or two they fall in unison, creating a gold carpet on the ground or lawn.

A handsome tree annually, ginkgo generally is tall and stately, although some varieties are more compact and dispersing. Do not be scared off from the dimensions of towering road trees that you see about. This really is a slow-growing shrub. You are able to create a minigrove of 3 or four thin young trees spaced 8 or 10 feet apart; they won’t attain intimidating prestige for a decade or so.

USDA zones: 5 to 9 (find your zone)
Water requirement: Moderate
moderate requirement: Total sun
Mature dimension: 35 to 50 feet high (may be taller) and 15 to 40 feet wide, depending upon range
Growing suggestion: Unnamed trees grown from seeds may be feminine and produce a jumble of stinky fruit.Make certain you choose a named variety, such as’Autumn Gold’,’Saratoga’, or’Pendula’ (shown here and in the previous photo).

Read more about ginko biloba


Chinese Pistache
(Pistacia chinensis)

This is a really reliable, easygoing shrub with one true present — sort of a Susan Boyle of the arboreal world. That present is brilliant fall color: orange, red, sometimes yellow. For most of the year, Chinese pistache is so understated and well behaved (no sloppy fruit, broken branches, foliage fall ) that nobody notices it. It is a medium-size, deciduous tree, generally having a roundish top.

You’re able to grow pistachein an assortment of situations: on a lawn, as a small terrace tree, in a parking strip, in a grove of 3 or more. A mature tree can function as a substantial shade tree.

USDA zones: 6 to 9
Water necessity: Moderate, however the shrub is elastic enough to take light to heavy watering
moderate requirement: Total sun
Mature dimensions: 30 to 60 feet high and 30 to 40 feet broad
Growing tips: It is not fussy about water or soil, but fall color usually is more pronounced in drier conditions. Pistache is somewhat slow to get started; begin with a bigger nursery tree if you are in a rush.


(Liquidambar styraciflua)

Native to forests of the American East and Southeast, liquidambar has made itself at home in the West as one of the very popular road trees. Many of the most widely planted varieties originated in California, such as’Palo Alto’, known for its bright red or orange-red fall color.

The tree’s tall and vertical form will fit into a garden’s backdrop. It will grow on a lawn, but surface roots can cause annoying bumps. Aged specimens, pruned to disperse (this photo), create fine shade trees. Plant a few together to form a grove or in rows for a display.

USDA zones: 7 to 9
Water necessity: Moderate or more
moderate requirement: Total sun
Mature dimension: 30 to 60 feet high and 15 to 30 feet wide (generally on the side)
Growing tips: Liquidambar isn’t hard to grow, but you’ll want to prune it early in life to develop a solid vertical shape; pinch back the side branches. For more of a round top, remove the lower branches. Do not plant it close to the sidewalk, as the roots can lift this up. Be ready to rake up spiny balls of seeds through much of the year.

Missouri Botanical Garden

Japanese Maple
(Acer japonicum)

Fall colour of the all-year performer varies from tree to tree. Shop in fall and handpick the colour you like. Generally, the typical green-leaf species (Acer palmatum) tolerates more sun and warmth better than types with elaborate leaves, but it may be less colorful. Japanese maple does well in a container; move it to a notable spot during its fall series.

USDA zones: 5 to 8
Water necessity: Moderate
moderate requirement: Entire sun in cool-summer ponds; semi shade during the hottest part of the day in most regions
Mature dimension: 15 to 25 feet high and 10 to 25 feet broad, depending upon range
Growing tips: Provide well-drained soil with loads of organic matter. Burned hints of leaves indicate sunburn (supply more colour ) or damage from salts in water (flood the root zone with water).

Japanese Persimmon
(Diospyros kaki)

The persimmon’s fall beauty comes in a double dose: First the glossy, leathery leaves turn deep orange to crimson. After those fall, frequently around Thanksgiving, bare branches bend profoundly as they hold dozens (hundreds?) Of glistening orange fruits well into winter. California nature/Zen poet Gary Snyder explains the magic of persimmons and the fruit”sweet orange goop” in”Mu Ch’I Persimmons”.

The shrub is dependable, medium size and perfectly suited to California gardens. It needs little care in comparison with other fruit trees — no pruning or spraying. It isshapely sufficient to stand alone as a garden’s focal point. It also may make an adequate shade tree.In a big garden, many trees may produce a row in the backdrop.

Many people like to eat the fruit fresh or use it in baking; others don’t like the fruit texture.

USDA zones: 7 to 10
Water necessity: Moderate
moderate requirement: Total sun
Mature dimension: 30 feet high and broad
Growing tips: There are a number of varieties on the market;’Hachiya’ is the very familiar one. ‘Fuyu’ has smaller, flatter fruit that is nonastringent and eaten when hard. What are you going to do with all the fruit? It is going to be there, although birds or squirrels may slip a few. If you don’t want it, then you can probably pick ripe fruits (after they soften and lose their astringency) and give them away — or have the children set up a lemonade-style stand. Do not plant this shrub in which you don’t need the fruit to fall.

See related