The weather may not cooperate, but colorful fall foliage helps Texans feel like the fall season has reached DFW. If you want to plant your own autumnal show stopper at home, consider one of these three favorites:
1. Black gum or ‘Tupelo’ (Nyssa sylvatica)
Called “one of the best and most consistent native trees for fall color” by tree expert Michael Dirr (Arbor Day Foundation) this north American native species makes a durable and reliable landscape specimen. It’s a particularly valuable shade tree, reaching up to 50′ in height and 30′ in width (so plant accordingly with regard to surrounding structures and power lines). The bark is said to resemble alligator hide, and while the tiny flowers are insignificant, they’re still a valuable source of nectar for bees and other pollinating insects. Most of all, Tupelo trees are planted for their vibrant fall color–with single branches boasting brilliant shades of red, gold, orange, purple and green. They’re tolerant of wet soils, too, making them a great choice for rain swales or seasonal creek placements.
2. Chinese Pistache (Pistacia chinensis)
While not native to north America, Chinese Pistache are well-behaved, low-maintenance, and remarkably quick to grow–in fact, it’s gained momentum as a landscape choice for municipal and commercial installations over the last decade. It’s been highly regarded by experts at Texas A&M and Oklahoma State Universities as one of the finest shade trees for our area, and is now listed as a Texas Superstar® and was the first shade tree to receive the coveted “Earth–Kind” designation from the Texas Agricultural Extension Service for its high levels of genetic resistance to insect and disease problems. It’s considered fast growing (2-3′ per year) to a height of 50′ with a mature width of 30′. Experts recommend choosing your plants at nurseries during fall–not only because it’s the best time to plant, but to be sure you’re getting a specimen that’s genetically inclined to put on a good color show.
3. Japanese Persimmon (Diospyros kaki)
While this is easily the most high-maintenance of the group, it’s also the smallest, and it provides succulent fruit in early winter. Persimmon trees (common Japanese varieties include ‘Fuyu’, ‘Tamopan’ and ‘Hachiya’) make unique specimen trees with a lovely branching habit, typically reaching only 20′ or so feet at maturity with similar spread. Their large, lazily-held leaves dazzle with brilliant, fiery shades in fall, leaving behind the large, red-orange fruit that’s an ornament unto itself. Persimmon trees won’t mind a bit of protection from the hottest afternoon sun, and they’ll appreciate a bit more TLC during their first few years–but seeing an established specimen in full color makes the effort worth it.
You’ll find each of these trees in stock today, 10/25/16 at NHG–and they’re often in stock year-round. If you’ve been admiring fall foliage trees and wishing you had one in your landscape, they’re the perfect place to start!