The West's best trees for fall leaves

Take advantage of fall's beautiful colors by adding these trees to your garden or using their leaves for home decorations

fall leaves

Autumn joy

When trees are freshly painted in their burnished fall colors, take advantage of the splendor with easy decorating projects at home.

Gather beautiful individual leaves during a walk in the country or neighborhood. If you grow trees with beautiful fall color, you can clip small leaf-filled branches for easy arrangements, wreaths, swags, or window boxes.

Click ahead for some of the West's best trees for fall color ― and easy decorating ideas.

chinese pistache

Chinese pistache

A garden-scale tree with a rounded canopy; narrow leaflets give it a lacy appearance.

In fall, foliage turns luminous shades of orange and red to gold. Sunset climate zones 4–16, 18–23.

More: Chinese pistache in the Sunset Plant Finder

Pin oak (Quercus palustris)

Pin oak (Quercus palustris)

An open, rounded tree. In brisk fall weather, the glossy leaves turn yellow, red, and finally russet brown. Zones 2–10, 14–24.

More: Pin oak in the Sunset Plant Finder

Japanese maple (Acer palmatum)

Japanese maple (Acer palmatum)

The most airy and delicate of all maples. Varieties with colorful leaves include 'Atropurpureum' (bronzy green); 'Bloodgood' (scarlet); 'Bonfire' (orange-pink); 'Ever Red' (crimson).

Best in zones A3, 2–10, 12, 14–24 (find your climate zone).

More: Japanese maple in the Sunset Plant Finder

Japanese persimmon (Diospyros kaki)

Japanese persimmon (Diospyros kaki)

In fall, leaves turn vivid yellow, orange, or red; after they drop, brilliant orange fruits hang on well into winter.

Best in zones 6–9, 14–16, 18–24, H1.

More: Japanese persimmon in the Sunset Plant Finder

Liquid ambar


Maple-like leaves give this stout-trunked tree a lacy effect. Fall color varies by variety.

L. styraciflua 'Palo Alto' has orange-red to bright red leaves.

L. styraciflua 'Festival' turns yellow, peach, pink, orange, and red. Zones 3–9, 14–24.

More: Liquidambar in the Sunset Plant Finder

Maidenhair tree (Ginkgo biloba).

Maidenhair tree (Ginkgo biloba)

A graceful tree with fan-shaped leaves that turn buttery yellow in fall; they drop all at once to create a golden carpet on lawns or paving. Zones A3, 1–10, 12, 14–24 (find your climate zone).

More about growing gingkos

Printed from: