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Small Trees with Excellent Fall Foliage

Celebrating the Beauty of Japanese Maples, Sumac Trees, Red Crepe Myrtles, and Sourwood Trees

As the summer heat wanes and the days grow shorter, the landscape transforms into a breathtaking tapestry of colors. Among the myriad of trees that contribute to this vibrant display, small trees with excellent fall foliage take center stage.

These petite wonders bring an explosion of reds, oranges, and yellows to gardens and natural settings alike.

In this exploration of small trees, we'll delve into the exquisite world of Japanese maples, sumac trees, red crepe myrtles, and sourwood trees, each contributing their unique charm to the autumnal spectacle.

Japanese Maples: A Symphony of Elegance

Japanese maples (Acer palmatum) are renowned for their exquisite foliage and graceful forms. These small trees are a prized addition to gardens, providing year-round beauty. However, it is during the fall when they truly shine. The leaves of Japanese maples burst into a symphony of colors, ranging from fiery reds to brilliant oranges and delicate yellows.

What makes Japanese maples so unique is the diversity of cultivars available. Some have finely dissected leaves resembling lacework, while others have broad, palmate leaves. Varieties like the 'Bloodgood' and 'Osakazuki' are known for their intense crimson hues, while 'Aoyagi' showcases a striking combination of green and white leaves.

Japanese maples also offer versatility in size, making them suitable for various garden spaces. Whether you have a compact urban garden or a larger landscape, you can find a Japanese maple to fit your needs. Their layered branching structure adds depth and texture to the garden even when the leaves have fallen.

Sumac Trees: Flames of Autumn

Sumac trees (genus Rhus) stand out in small trees with remarkable fall foliage. Known for their vibrant red and orange leaves, sumac trees are synonymous with the spirit of autumn. Two common species, the staghorn sumac (Rhus typhina) and the smooth sumac (Rhus glabra), are popular choices for landscaping.

What sets sumac trees apart is their unique compound leaves and distinctive fruit clusters. In autumn, their foliage turns brilliant shades of red and orange, creating a fiery spectacle. These trees are also drought-tolerant and thrive in various soil types, making them low-maintenance additions to your landscape.

Sumac trees are not only visually appealing but also ecologically valuable. They provide food for birds and wildlife through their fruit clusters and shelter for insects. Some species are even used for medicinal and culinary purposes, adding to their allure.

Red Crepe Myrtles: Southern Charm

Red crepe myrtles (Lagerstroemia indica) are beloved in the southern United States for their stunning fall display. These small trees are characterized by their striking crepe-paper-like flowers that bloom in summer, but their autumn foliage truly captivates them.

As the temperatures cool, their leaves transform into shades of fiery red, creating a striking contrast against their smooth, peeling bark. Red crepe myrtles come in various sizes, from dwarf varieties suitable for containers to larger specimens that make fantastic focal points in the landscape.

They are also known for their extended bloom period, providing vibrant flowers and rich fall foliage. These trees thrive in warm, sunny climates and are relatively low-maintenance.

Being low maintenance makes them a popular choice for southern gardens. They can continue to provide year-round interest in your landscape with proper care for years.

Sourwood Trees: A Sweet Surprise

Sourwood trees (Oxydendrum arboreum) are a hidden gem among small trees with exceptional fall foliage. Native to the southeastern United States, they offer a delightful surprise in the autumn garden.

While they may be unassuming during most of the year, come fall, their lustrous green leaves transition into shades of deep red and burgundy. What makes sourwood trees even more enchanting is their unique blooms.

In mid-summer, they produce clusters of fragrant, white, urn-shaped flowers that dangle from the branches, resembling delicate strings of pearls. These blossoms add beauty to the garden and provide a valuable nectar source for pollinators.

Sourwood trees are adaptable and can thrive in various soil types as long as they have good drainage. Their small to medium size makes them suitable for urban and rural settings, and their fall foliage ensures they stand out in the autumn landscape.

Small Trees with a Big Impact

As the days grow shorter and the air turns crisp, small trees with excellent fall foliage take their rightful place as stars of the autumn landscape. Japanese maples, sumac trees, red crepe myrtles, and sourwood trees offer unique charm, providing a burst of color and elegance to gardens and natural settings.

Whether you choose the delicate beauty of Japanese maples, the fiery reds of sumac trees, the southern charm of red crepe myrtles, or the sweet surprise of sourwood trees, you can count on these small trees to bring unparalleled beauty to your fall garden.

Embrace the season's transformation and celebrate the stunning foliage these trees provide, creating memories and moments of awe with every leaf that gracefully falls.

Japanese Maple - Acer Palmatum - TN Nursery

Japanese Maple - Acer Palmatum

Japanese Maple is an ornamental tree known for its palmate leaves that turn shades of green and yellow in the fall, contributing to a graceful and vibrant garden landscape. It is a stunning and versatile ornamental with numerous landscaping benefits. Its unique characteristics and aesthetic appeal make it popular for enhancing outdoor spaces like gardens, parks, and residential yards. Japanese maple (Acer palmatum) is a type of woody plant of Asian origin. In Japan, it is called "iroha momiji." The tree is famous for its refined ornamental qualities and variety of colorful cultivars. Japanese Maple - Acer Palmatum Natural Habitat Iroha Momiji is native to Japan, Korea, China, Mongolia, and Russia and naturalized in parts of North America. This deciduous plant typically reaches heights of 20'–35' when it grows in the understory of shady woodland. A huge variety of iroha Momiji trees grow in the wild, and seedlings from the same ancestor can be of different colors, shapes, and sizes. Appearance Of The Tree Iroha Momiji cultivars come in thousands of beautiful forms and sizes that can range from 1 1⁄2' to 52' tall. Their small, finely-textured palmate leaves range from 1 1⁄2"–4 3⁄4" long and display five, seven, or nine long, pointed lobes. The leaves are famed for their amazing array of colors, from deep green and chartreuse to orange, red, and deep purple. Some cultivars have variegated leaves with pink or white patterns. In the fall, the leaves typically brighten and put on a brilliant display of yellow, red, and orange. The tree typically has gnarled, twisting, compound trunks with gray bark that join close to the ground. Iroha Momiji cultivars have many forms, from upright to dome- and vase-shaped to weeping and cascading, and more. Using It In the Garden In the United States, Iroha Momiji cultivars are often planted in Japanese gardens. Their compact size and adaptability make them good ornamental accent trees for paths, borders, and patios. The plant is also popular as a bonsai, and many varieties can be grown in pots or planters. Within their delicate canopies, Iroha Momiji trees provide shelter for a variety of small animals. Songbirds use the branches as nesting sites and feast on their seeds, while squirrels and chipmunks are said to enjoy the trees' bark. In spring, hummingbirds and bees fly to the trees' flowers and feed on their nectar. TN Nursery Adds Elegance to Your Landscape Planting iroha momiji in your garden is a great way to add creative flair to your landscape and enjoy its refined beauty all year long.

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Staghorn Sumac - TN Nursery

Staghorn Sumac

Staghorn Sumac is a deciduous shrub or small tree known for its pinnately compound leaves and distinctive upright clusters of fuzzy, red, or white berries. It is often found in various habitats and appreciated for its ornamental and ecological value. This excellent deciduous plant is known for its unique beauty, beautiful leaves, and fall color. It is a must-have for any lover or gardener with its unique and highly harmonious form.   Staghorn Sumac Staghorn Sumac is generally safe for humans and most animals to interact with. It can be grown outdoors to add color to your yard or kept indoors as an ornamental piece. Let's take a closer look at the physical attributes of this deciduous shrub and the benefits of owning it. What Does the Shrub Look Like This item will grow to about 16 feet tall and will be about 20 feet in diameter. It has both yellowish flowers as well as a series of green leaves during the spring and summer and various colors during the fall. The primary leaves are about 10 inches in diameter, while the flowers are anywhere from two to four inches wide. Many people say that the leaves feel like the velvet of a deer's antlers, which is partially how the tree got its name. It Reproduces in Multiple Ways This plant can reproduce through seeds, which are spread either by wind or by animals such as squirrels or rabbits. However, they can also create clones of themselves in which younger shoots will sprout near more mature ones. This means that you can easily get more of these plants on your property within a matter of months. It Produces Food for Wildlife A number of birds and other creatures that stick around for the winter will eat the fruit that they provide. The fruit will typically remain on the tree from the late spring months until they are either eaten or fall off before the start of the following spring. Therefore, you will always have something to look at, no matter what the calendar says. TN Nursery Loves This Shrub  You can put this type of tree in your front yard to break up what might otherwise be a monotonous space. They can also be used as part of a garden or put indoors to add a touch of color to your home office or other sufficiently large spaces where a plant can add some charm and character.

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