Just when some plants start to die out in the fall, there are a lot of trees that show spectacular color.  Their leaves turn into bright colors like scarlet, gold, orange, red, and yellow. Some of these trees also have interesting textures in their bark and bountiful fruit.

If you love fall foliage, plan on planting these trees according to the amount of garden space you have.  Smaller trees will be great for the patio or in front of the house as a specimen.  Larger trees can be planted in wider areas away from the house.

A  splash of contrasting color around them  will provide an attractive backdrop like evergreens and lighter whites. Whether your house is painted dark or neutral, these trees will add a sparkle to your landscape. The best time to plant these beauties are in fall or spring.

Maple leaves

Maple (Acer)

Maple trees  have dense foliage and can grow in full sun to light shade in well-drained soil.  At mature size, they can grow up to 30 feet high and 30 feet wide.  In the fall the leaves turn into yellow color which makes it an attractive specimen tree.  Zone 5

sweet gum tree

Sweet Gum (Liquidambar)

This fast growing tree grows best in moist, well-drained soil.  It can grow up to 70 feet tall and 50 feet wide and needs a lot of space. The leaves turn yellow, red, purple, and scarlet in the fall.  The silver-gray bark and star-shaped leaves make this tree even more beautiful. Use the colorful leaves and spiky seed clusters for fall decoration.  Zone 6

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Birch tree

Birch (Betula)

Multiple trunks, delicate yellow leaves in the fall, beautiful peeling white bark make birch trees so attractive.  Their shade density is medium to light and can grow from 20 feet to 70 feet tall in moist soil.  Choose a disease-resistant variety such as River Birch (Betula Nigra).  Zone 2-5

oak tree

Oak (Quercus)

Several varieties of this large tree display red, bronze, scarlet, violet, purple, yellow, and russet leaf colors in the fall. It grows well in slightly acidic, well-drained soil.  This majestic tree acts as a good wind break because of its strong form.  It grows from 60 to 90 feet tall.  Zone 4-9

Chinese pistachio tree

Chinese Pistachio (Pistacia Chinensis)

This fruitless tree is medium-sized and perfect for small yards. The small leaves turn yellow, orange, scarlet, purple and crimson red color in the fall.  It has an umbrella-like canopy suitable for shade.  Once it is established it can survive with occasional watering. If you want a show stopper in the fall, plant this tree.  Zone 6-9

Japanese maple

Japanese Maple (Acer Palmatum)

Plant this elegant specimen tree if you have a small garden space.  The leaves are star-shaped or thread like and turns red, green, or red-green in the fall.  It can grow in partial sun but will have the best color if grown in full sun. Zone 6

Beech tree

Beech (Fagus)

This magnificent specimen tree has yellow-gold leaves in the fall.  The branches are spreading or low-forming with an attractive silvery bark.  Another variety has a trunk that looks like elephant skin.  Although it can tolerate poor soil, it will do best in acidic soil.  It can grow up from 50 to 90 feet tall.  Zone 4-5

Plant these trees and enjoy viewing the breathtaking extravaganza of fall colors.  Not only do they have attractive leaves, some of them have interesting textured bark.  I know they are great for photos too.  In the fall, I have neighbors who bring their kids and take pictures in front of my trees.