The Fall Color continues

Acer palmatum 'Osakazuki'

I am thoroughly enjoying this year's show of fall color. I'm not working so I've been able to study the changes in the trees. It really started after last week's frost. I was so afraid that the leaves would start dropping but the shedding hasn't been too drastic.

'Osakazuki' is the Japanese maple pictured above. Descriptions boast that it is one of the maples with the most vibrant red color. I would say the color on ours is more orange but my gosh, it is stunning and gets more intense with each passing day.  The photo at the top was taken yesterday, November 6th. The following was taken one day earlier, on November 5th. Can you tell the difference?

We've had really cloudy and rainy weather the past few days and I'm sure that intensifies the colors. A few days ago, we got a burst of late afternoon sun. I ran out and got a photo of it hitting 'Osakazuki' -

'Osakazuki' in late afternoon sun

As beautiful as that tree is, however, there is another one that is even better. That would be the Black Tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica). Like 'Osakazuki' maple, it began changing colors overnight. 

Black Tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica)

The color of the leaves is an intense copper that seems to intensify by the minute. On one side of it (the south side), the leaves have started to turn red, first along the border of the leaf and eventually the entire leaf is red. The combination is a hot one! I just love it.

Black Tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica)


And here it is in that late afternoon sun -


The following photo shows the Black Tupelo last week. It was more yellow then. The grass underneath is Northern Sea Oats (Chasmanthium latifolium) which also looks fantastic in autumn.


There are other trees that look great to. The Coral Bark maple (Acer palmatum 'Sango Kaku') is right outside the library window. The leaves on it turn yellow and then you get shades of orange thrown in as well.

The redbud 'Hearts of Gold' that I planted earlier this year is also very nice. It has chartreuse leaves that are fading to yellow.

Redbud (Cercis) 'Hearts of Gold'

The Asian White Birch 'Dakota Pinnacle' starts out as a dull yellow and then turns much more vibrant. I was just looking at photos of this tree taken last year and I was amazed at how much it has grown.

'Dakota Pinnacle' Asian White Birch (Betula platyphylla 'Fargo')


And one of my favorite trees - the Persian Ironwood (Parrotia Persica) looks good in every season.

Persian Ironwood (Parrotia Persica)


Spectacular color on the Sourwood (Oxydendrum arborea)


Sourwood (Oxydendrum arborea)

The smaller Japanese maples in pots are also displaying some great colors -

'Dancing Peacock'

'Geisha Gone Wild'

'Dancing Peacock'

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy


  1. Wow, you have a beautiful collection of trees offering fall color. We get little of that, presumably because it just doesn't get cold enough here. What I do get (from my persimmons and ornamental pear) isn't nearly as spectacular as that provided by your trees and it generally doesn't show up until late December or early January. I'm trying to convince my husband that I "need" a Gingko to replace the dead mimosa (Albizia) we took down a week ago. I'd love more Japanese maples but they can only handle a few spots here where they get protection from the sun and wind.

    1. I have gingko 'Princetown Sentry'. It was beautiful last fall but not so much this year. I do love it though.

  2. Isn't fall spectacular? It's by far my favorite season. Japanese Maples are always good for color show. The dancing-peacock is particularly dazzling. I have a giant old Birch in my garden and before long it would turn into shimmering gold, the falling leafs will eventually cover everything on the ground.

    1. The woman at the nursery told us that 'Dancing Peacock' was something else in the fall. She was right!

  3. Your collection of trees are looking beautiful. Don't you just love this time of year! Every time I read Tupelo I think of our trip to Asheville. It seems to me that this is such a Southern tree. The leaves are falling off our trees now. The last trees to lose their leaves are the Japanese Maples. I only have 3 types. The most impressive fall display is the Coral Bark maple.

    1. It is a native of the southeast although I don't remember ever seeing it. That trip to Asheville was so memorable!


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