Best Fall color in shrubs and small trees

jel48(Z4 Michigan)November 5, 2005

This is an area that I'mg going to work on next year. I've got a good start on adding fall color with perennials and next year I'm working on (among other things) small trees and bushes. Part of the small trees and bushes that I'm adding will be aimed at attracting birds. The rest will be for color - some during the summer and some during the fall.

What are your very best 'fall foliage' small trees and bushes? Which ones put on a spectacular show for you most years? Also, which do you like for added 'winter interest'?

I've put up photos that show what end of October and first week of November looks like in my yard this year. If anyone would like to take a peek, the link is below :-) If you do look, you'll see that although I do have some beautiful yellows, I'm missing those brilliant oranges and reds (not just at the time the pics were taken, but all through the fall).

Here is a link that might be useful: Joyce's Autumn Garden 2005

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putzer(z4 WI)

I have been thinking the same thing...but then I have some viburnums that were just planted this year so I am not so sure what colors I will have with them. Btw, I love the composition of picture 182 on your website-beautiful!

I have been tempted to add a dwarf burning bush to my 'want list.' I know it is so very common, but very little can beat that punch of red this time of year. Our new gray dogwood was pretty this fall-can you tell we really tried to plant a lot for birds this year as well? lol

Also, I love our Prairiefire crabapples in all seasons!

    Bookmark   November 6, 2005 at 1:05AM
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leftwood(z4a MN)

Joyce, #68 is an intriguing thing. What the heck (is it)? I see a lot of your gardening is quite new. Can't wait to see it in a few years. They will be georgeous!

Fall color: this smoke tree I would classify as a medium tree as it looks like it will be 25-30ft. But I planted it especially for fall color that last 3 weeks most years. Starts out deep maroon, then lighten to what you see in the pic. Realated too, but NOT a smoke bush(Cotinus coggygria).

Cotinus obovatus-American Smoke Tree

Don't forget witchhazel. These bloom pics taken at Thanksgiving last year. Yellow fall color foliage:

Hammamelis virginia

These viburnums a quite nice, and have VERY fragrant, good smelling flowers. (Most viburnums smell terrible.) However little or no berries. These also start out a red-maroon and lighten to this color:

Viburnum x judii and carlesii(Koreanspice viburnum)

    Bookmark   November 6, 2005 at 10:52AM
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jel48(Z4 Michigan)

Thanks Putzer and Rick! The Prairiefire Crabapple and American Smoke Tree both have great red fall color! Exactly the sort of thing I'm looking for, although the AST may be a little large for the space I have available, I'll have to do some thinking about that (but then, what else do I have to do all winter but THINK about gardening :-).

I'll have to check out the grey dogwood too. I'm thinking about a couple of red-twig dogwoods and a yellow-twig dogwood mixed in for contrast already. And I don't care if the dwarf burning bushes are really common. I think they are great and some will most likely be making it into my yard too.

Thanks for the comment on #182, Putzer! That's a close up of a deep maroon mum surrounded by gourds from my veggie garden - they were a kind of funny accident. All through the early part of the summer, we thought we had volunteer cucumbers, until they started blooming that it! The blossums were huge. Turns out they were gourds - must have tossed one in there to decompose last winter 'cause I sure hadn't raised any before!

#68 is a surprise, Rick! Probably not one you'll want to add to your garden since they are kind of invasive in a lot of soils.... not mine though. I have this heavy yellow clay.... Anyway, if you haven't guessed by the description, that curly red top belongs to an Obedient Plant! Would you have ever guessed?

Oh, and Rick, you're right about being new garden space. Tom and I were married fall of 2003. IBefore that, he had one little 9' square veggie garden and that little bed of annuals in front of the house. And the trees and a few bushes... that's it! I put in a few peonies that fall, then added the shade garden under the maple in the front yard, a border of perennials in the back, and a couple of hosta beds in 2004. Then more hosta beds, a nursery area, a rose garden, and the beginnings of a combination hosta and iris garden this summer, 2005. I think the rewards will be showing up in the next 2-3 years. Can't wait!

    Bookmark   November 6, 2005 at 10:29PM
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leftwood(z4a MN)

Frickin' obedient plant. No, I never would've guessed. Never knew they came in purple! BTW, fall is the best time to get a burning bush because you can choose what fall color you want. They are not all necessarily red, and can range from orange to hot pink or red to purple-red. But red is the most common.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2005 at 9:01PM
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perennialprincess(z4 MN)

Joyce: nice colors in the garden already . . . but, if you would like more reds, here are a few suggestions for you

Acer x freemanii 'Firefall' - new from the U of M
Aronia 'Autumn Magic', reds, purple tones in autumn, plus good berries
Rhus TigerEyes - great chartreuse yellow color all summer, then in autumn it turns orange and red - gorgeous!
Geranium wlassovianum - love the fall color on this hardy Geranium
Acer saccharum 'Fiesta' - great fall color on this new sugar maple cultivar
Acer pseudosieboldianum - hardy!
Cotinus 'Grace' - purplish leaves all summer, then red in autumn! - it gets big, though
Spiraea betulifolia 'Tor' - ok, maybe not red, but really nice rounded habit, great spring bloom, and really good color today as I write
have fun! PP

    Bookmark   November 8, 2005 at 12:35PM
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