Living in the South, you get to see some wonderful fall color displays. Whether it is trees or shrubs, the landscape lightens up with gold, red, copper, and yellows. If you are looking to add a bit of color into your Southern landscape, these are five good examples of trees and shrubs that will give you that burst of late season color. Always check your soil to make sure that it is right for the plants listed. Planting plants outside of their tolerance can result in disease and lackluster performance.
American Smoke Tree (Cotinus obovatus)
An upright tree that grows 15 to 30 feet tall, the American smoke tree has showy smoke-like flowers and deciduous leaves. They turn a spectacular display of red and yellow in the fall season. It needs a full sun or partial shade lighting with a dry alkaline soil. It does have some tolerance for cold and heat.
Southern Sugar Maple (Acer barbatum)
A spreading tree that grows from 20 to 25 feet high, the Southern sugar maple has green leaves that turn a rich yellow and gold. It will grow well in a partial shade lighting with a dry soil. It is going to have some cold tolerance and is resistance to ice and wind damage.
Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana)
With the chance to grow up to 35 feet high, the witch hazel usually only gets to around 10 to 15 feet tall. It has crooked branches and an irregular shape, with fragrant yellow flowers. Leaves are the color green of lettuce but will turn a brilliant gold color in the fall. You will need to place this perennial in partial shade lighting conditions and with acidic well-drained soil. It will tolerate wet soil, poor soil, full sun, full shade, and some pollution.
Red Maple (Acer rubrum)
This rounded crown tree grows 40 to 60 feet high in a yard but can get up to 120 feet high in the wild. Red samaras against silver-gray bark make for a lovely contrast. Leaves are green and its fall color can be a brilliant red or a yellow to green-yellow color. The red maple will grow best in full sun to partial shade lighting conditions and in moist slightly acidic soils. It is both cold and heat tolerant.
Alternateleaf Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia)
Growing 20 to 35 feet high, this short trunk plant has white-cream flowers that are fragrant. Deciduous, the leaves are dark green. Berries are red-purple and in clusters. During the fall, the dark green leaves turn a nice maroon shade. It grows well in partial shade to full shade lighting conditions and in moist soil. Soil should be well-drained and acidic for the best results. The alternateleaf dogwood tree is tolerant of clay and other poor growing soils.
These five choices are all going to give the Southern gardener great color. I’ve a few in my yard, and to see the different colors burst into the season is a lovely site. Having a good range of color makes for a better display, so don’t be afraid to mix it up a bit and not plant all the same thing.
Drought Tolerant Native Trees for Xeriscaping
Moist Loving Native Plants
Native Shrubs for Xeriscaping
Source: Native Plant Information Network