Autumn Tree Colour

This is the season of the tree and if you’ve been lusting after your neighbour’s spectacular Japanese maple or red-berried Rowan tree, now is the time to invest in planting for a show of your own next year.

There’s a reason that October is such a highlight in the gardening year and that reason lies in the fact this is the time of the year when nature puts on a spectacular display with the reds and golds and flaming oranges of the autumn tree leaves. You can plant pot-grown trees at any time of the year as long as the soil is not frost-bound so now is the time to investigate which trees will give you that spectacular display of Autumn colour once they are established a year from now.

Here are six of the best Autumn colour trees for you to buy and plant now:

Autumn Blaze (Acer freemanii)

The name says is all and this beautiful tree, which does very well on UK soils, is grown primarily for the rich, red autumn colour of its leaves. That said, it will grow to a height of 12m so this is a tree for large gardens and not suited to smaller spaces.

Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum)

This tree is the wild form of Japanese maple and highly prized for its magnificent purple-red, orange or yellow autumnal colpurs. It will tolerate chalk but will grow best in a moist but well-drained loam soil and will need to be sheltered from cold winds. A shallow-rooting tree, this is an excellent choice for smaller gardens.

Crab Apple (Malus ‘Red Sentinel’)

The gift that keeps giving, this crabapple produces white and strongly scented flower which emerge from a profusion of dark pink buds just as its light green foliage it unfolding. But by autumn – it’s a whole different story! The blossom will have given way to a heady crop of vivid scarlet fruits, more berry than apple sized, which persist even after the leaves have fallen. This plucky hardy tree does well in both urban areas and exposed sites.

Ornamental Cherry (Prunus ‘Accolade’)

A dreamy small-garden little tree which not only cheers the dull days of March with its dark pink buds and dreamy pale pink blossom but move on into autumn with a glowing foliage of yellow and gold. Works well as a specimen tree for Autumn if budgets dictate you can only plant one tree and as part of an ornamental woodland mix.

Red Oak (Quercus rubra)

A fast-growing upright tree with a single stem and huge billowing top to give you all the orange-red foliage you could dream of for your autumn display of colour. The bark is silvery-grey and the leaves are large (up to 22cm) so this is not a tree for small gardens. Performs best in acid to neutral soil but will tolerate dry soil, drought and pollution.

Rowan Tree (Sorbus hupensis)

As with the maple family, there’s a whole lot of choice when it comes to choosing a rown tree. Our native variety, Sorbus aucuparia which is also known as Mountain Ash, produces red or orange berries with bright red and organe leave and being native, grows well in most soils. But for something more ethereal, try the Sorbus hipehensis from China. It has a silver-grey summer foliage, bright red autumn leaves and fairytale, delicate-looking white berries. Plant en masse and you really will think you’ve walked into an enchanted forest!

The best time to see Autumn colours is from around mid-October to mid-November but much will depend on whether or not there is an Indian Summer.