Several things start to change as summer rounds into fall: the days grow shorter, the air feels crisper, and—at least in my house—Saturday and Sunday’s regularly scheduled programing becomes all football, all the time.

Autumn is many people’s favorite time of year, if not for bonfires and pumpkin patches, then for food and family. And for those lucky enough to live in the nation’s most colorful regions come autumn, fall foliage has a lot to do with the specialness of the season.

New England is known for its spectacular fall color as its trees turn from summery green to vibrant red, yellow, and orange, and every year, tree peepers across the country make an autumn pilgrimage to admire the fiery display.

Of course, many homeowners don’t need to travel beyond their front yard to see the leaves change. Color-changing trees can thrive in a range of climates, from the famously variegated Northeast to the sun-drenched South. To determine whether a tree grows in your region, refer to the National Arbor Day Foundation’s plant hardiness zones map.

In honor of National Fall Foliage Week starting Sunday, September 24, we’ve compiled a list of our eight favorite trees for fall color:

Trees with Yellow Leaves

yellow aspen tree leaves

1. Quaking Aspen

The iconic quaking aspen gets its name from the way its leaves visibly tremble or “quake” in the breeze. Come fall, vast swaths of bright yellow aspen trees are one of the most attractive features of the Rocky Mountains and surrounding regions. Grown in zones 1 to 7, aspens flourish in the arid western states, preferring cool, dry summers and ample winter snow.
  • Shape: Oval
  • Growth rate: Fast
  • Mature height: 40-50’
yellow gingko tree leaves

2. Ginkgo

Bright green in spring and summer, the unique, fan-shaped leaves of the ginkgo tree turn a charming, sunny yellow in the fall. Ginkgos grow in zones 3 to 8, preferring wet climates to dry, though they are relatively hardy in a drought. Also tolerant of urban conditions such as air pollution, heat, soil salt, and confined spaces, ginkgos perform well as street trees. Learn more about the history and benefits of the gingko tree.
  • Shape: Pyramidal
  • Growth rate: Medium
  • Mature height: 25-50’
yellow whitchhazel tree flowers

3. Witchhazel

Attractive in all growing seasons, witchhazel produces fragrant, delicate yellow blooms between October and December, and its leaves turn shades of yellow and orange throughout autumn. Found in zones 3 to 8, witchhazel tolerates a range of moisture and soil conditions. It can be grown as a shrub or a tree and is a perfect specimen for lending visual interest to a yard.
  • Shape: Round/irregular
  • Growth rate: Medium
  • Mature height: 15-30’

Trees with Red and Orange Leaves

orange sugar maple leaves

4. Sugar Maple

Synonymous with colorful fall foliage, the leaves of the well-loved sugar maple put on a show during autumn, turning first vivid yellow, then orange and red as the weather continues to cool. Sugar maples grow in all but the hottest parts of the country (zones 3 to 8), though they do not fare well in urban areas, or elsewhere salt and small spaces are characteristic.
  • Shape: Round/oval
  • Growth rate: Slow/medium
  • Mature height: 60-75’
Japanese red maple leaves

5. Japanese Red Maple

Found in zones 5 to 8, there are hundreds of Japanese maple varieties on the market, and spring and fall colors range from golden yellow to fiery orange to shades of red, pink, and deep purple. Their versatility make Japanese maples a standout among ornamental trees, and planting one is sure to lend beauty and interest to any landscape.
  • Shape: Round
  • Growth rate: Medium
  • Mature height: 15-25’
black tupelo tree leaves

6. Black Tupelo

The black tupelo can be expected to grow in zones 4 to 9. Its shiny leaves deliver terrific autumn color, usually turning completely red or orange, but have also been known to produce shades of yellow and purple. It produces small blooms and blue-black fruit, which attract bees as well as many species of wild bird through late spring and fall.
  • Shape: Oval
  • Growth rate: Slow/medium
  • Mature height: 30-50’
red sourwood tree leaves

7. Sourwood

Sourwood foliage is impressive in both summer, when its fragrant, frothy white flowers bloom, and in fall, when its leaves turn a stunning, almost-purple shade of crimson. Considered both a shade and ornamental tree, sourwoods will make an excellent landscape addition throughout zones 5 to 9. Its nectar-filled flowers are a favorite of bees and can be used to produce honey.
  • Shape: Oval
  • Growth rate: Medium
  • Mature height: 25-30’
baldcypress tree with red needles

8. Baldcypress

In fall, the baldcypress tree’s short needles change from green to a reddish, rusty color, making it unique among conifers, which do not usually turn in autumn. Grown in zones 4 to 10, the baldcypress is the southernmost-reaching tree for fall color. It adapts well to wet and dry climates, and though it is native to southern swampland, the baldcypress does surprisingly well in yards and along streets.
  • Shape: Pyramidal
  • Growth rate: Medium
  • Mature height: 50-70’

Hire a Professional Tree Service

A new tree will lend beauty, shade, and interest to any yard—especially those known for their fall color, like our favorites above—and while window shopping is always fun, planting and caring for trees can be a delicate science.

Beyond the correct climate zone, ideal growth conditions depend on the tree’s unique soil, sunlight, and moisture preferences. Improper placement can cause issues, from stunted growth to cracked hardscaping due to a shallow root system, and many trees are susceptible to disease, drought, and temperature extremes.

To ensure the health and longevity of your new landscaping showstopper, contact a professional tree service. Best Pick tree service companies are local, so they well know the trees that flourish in your climate and extenuating conditions, and they will provide proper maintenance so you can enjoy a colorful landscape for years to come.

You don’t need to sojourn north to enjoy gorgeous fall color, and likewise, you don’t need to be a tree care specialist—make like a tree and “leaf” that to the experts.

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