All for show
For the best impact from autumn foliage trees, think about where you will place them in the garden. A single well-shaped feature tree can look wonderful near a front door, for instance. These foliage trees also contrast beautifully against evergreens, such as conifers, dense green hedges or banks of native lilly pillies.
For a truly autumnal garden scene, underplant a showy deciduous tree with a few ornamental grasses, or those stalwarts of this season, gorgeous chrysanthemums and Easter daisies (Aster species).
Shop while they drop
Because autumnal leaf colours vary from plant to plant, it’s a good idea to visit your local nursery mid-season to make your choice. Not only will you be able to select your favourites but, also, it’s the ideal time for planting trees and shrubs.
10 of the best
• Tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica) has vivid apricot, red and gold foliage along elegant, horizontal branches. Height: to 12m.
• Golden ash (Fraxinus excelsior ‘Aurea’) has golden-green summer leaves that turn deep old-gold in autumn. Height: to 7m.
• Pin oak (Quercus palustris) develops crimson foliage on an elegant conical tree. The scarlet oak (Q. coccinea) turns an even more brilliant shade of red. Height: to 12m.
• Lipstick maples (Acer rubrum cultivars) are forms of the North American red maple and glow with red and orange in autumn. Look for ‘October Glory’ and ‘Fairview Flame’. Height: from 10 to 12m.
• Japanese maples (Acer palmatum) are perfect for small gardens and happy in large pots. They offer shades of gold, orange and red, even in mild climates. Height: to 7m.
• Ornamental pears (Pyrus species) are shapely trees with stunning orange, red or gold foliage – sometimes all at the same time. ‘Chanticleer’ is an excellent form. Height: to 11m.
• Chinese tallow tree (Sapium sebiferum) features shades of orange, red and purple. This moderate-sized tree has small, heart-shaped leaves and is a good choice for warm climates. Height: to 12m.
• Crepe myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica) features late-summer blooms, which are followed by an autumn foliage display in yellow and orange. Height: to 7m.
• Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) is the perfect choice for a haze of pure autumn gold. It’s also known as the maidenhair tree. Height: to 25m.
• Liquidambar (Liquidambar styraciflua) has variable shades, from yellow to red to dark purple, and is a wonderfully reliable tree. Look for smaller cultivars, like ‘Gumball’ and ‘Parasol’. Height: to 25m.