Trees with Colorful Fall Foliage

One of the most delightful aspects of fall is the colorful tree foliage.  Yellow is the predominate fall leaf color.  However, are also oranges, reds, and purples. 

The weather in early fall largely determines the intensity and duration of leaf color in those tree species capable of producing good fall color.  Best fall color typically develops when days in early fall are sunny and mild and nights are cool (but remain above freezing).  Long periods of cloudy, rainy weather or a hard freeze in early fall will mute fall colors.

When selecting trees for the home landscape, consider fall leaf color.  The trees in the following list provide some of the best fall color in Iowa. 

Common and Scientific Name

Fall Leaf Color

Tree Height/Width

Black maple (Acer nigrum)

yellow to orange

50'/50'

Norway maple (Acer platanoides)

yellow

40-50'/40-50'

Red maple (Acer rubrum)

orange to red

40-50'/30-40'

Sugar maple (Acer saccharum)

yellow to orange

50-60'/50'

Freeman maple (Acer x freemanii)

red

40-50'/40'

Ohio buckeye (Aesculus glabra)

yellow to reddish orange

30-40'/30-40'

Serviceberry

     (Amelanchier x grandiflora)

yellow to orange to red

20-25'/20-25'

American hornbeam

     (Carpinus caroliniana)

yellow to orange to red

25-30'/25-30'

Shagbark hickory (Carya ovata)

yellow

60'/40-45'

Katsura tree

     (Cercidiphyllum japonicum)

yellow to apricot

40-50'/35-40'

Redbud (Cercis canadensis)

yellow

20-25'/25-30'

Yellowwood (Cladrastis kentukea)

yellow

35-40'/40-45'

Honeylocust

     (Gleditsia triacanthos var. inermis)

yellow

50'/50'

Larch (Larix species)

yellow

50-60'/30-40'

American sweetgum

     (Liquidambar styraciflua)

yellow to red to purple

50-60'/40-50'

Black gum (Nyssa sylvatica)

yellow to orange to red

30-40'/25-30'

White oak (Quercus alba)

wine red

60-70'/60-70'

Red oak (Quercus rubra)

wine red

60-70'/60-70'

Bald cypress (Taxodium distichum)

brownish orange

50-60'/30-35'

American elm (Ulmus americana)

yellow

60-70'/60-70'

Colorful Fall Foliage, Ledges State Park near Boone IA.
Colorful Fall Foliage, Ledges State Park near Boone IA.
Colorful Fall Foliage, Ledges State Park near Boone IA.
Colorful Fall Foliage, Ledges State Park near Boone IA.

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