From Spotlight: Outside Is the Place to Be This Fall

9 Stunning Trees with Colorful Curb Appeal

These no-fuss knockouts will claim center stage each autumn.

bright leaves of gold orange yellow red and green of a Sugar Maple autumn foliage on the branches and across the green grass along a white picket fence
Image: Adria Photography/Getty

Japanese Maple

vibrant red leaves on the branches and around the trunk of a Japanese Maple in late fall on the front lawn of a split level house with white siding and red brick
Acer palmatum
Image: andykazie/Getty

Height: 15-25 feet
Spread: 20 feet
Zones: 5-8
Fall color: Maroon to orange
Care: Plant in dappled shade so delicate leaves won’t burn in summer; not particular about its soil; keep moisture consistent, especially during dry spells.
Value add: Slow-growing (it won’t outgrow its home); great planted alone or in groups; songbirds, squirrels, and chipmunks love the seeds.

Vine Maple

bright red orange yellow and green leaves of a Vine Maple tree in fall in a garden edge along the grass
Acer circinatum
Image: Design Pics / Craig Tuttle/Getty

Height: 15 feet
Spread: 20 feet
Zones: 6-9
Fall color: Yellow, orange, red
Care: Plant in shade (though it will take full sun); keep soil moist; prune often to prevent branches from running wild.
Value add: Unusual arching and twisting branches that provide year-round interest and curb appeal; good for urban gardens and large containers; usually pest- and disease-free.

Viburnum

colorful pink and purple berries with red and orange edges of waxy green leaves on a Viburnum Nudum shrug
Viburnum nudum
Image: Diane Labombarbe/Getty

Height: 6-10 feet
Spread: 6-10 feet
Zones: 5-9
Fall color: Maroon to red-purple
Care: Likes partial shade to full sun; prefers moist loam but grows in a wide range of soil types.
Value add: Versatile tree; good as an accent, foundation, border, or street-side planting; edible (but acidic) blue-purple berries.

Paper Birch

the low contrast light of an overcast day brings out the vivid red gold and yellow autumn colors of Paper Birch trees
Betula papyrifera
Image: Robert C Nunnington/Getty

Height: 50-70 feet
Spread: 35 feet
Zones: 2-7
Fall color: Bright yellow
Care: Keep moist and mulched, especially in high heat and low-water conditions.
Value add: Year-round interest from dark red bark on young stems that turns creamy white on mature trunks; tap the trunk in spring for sap you can make into beer, syrup, and vinegar.

Sugar Maple

bright leaves of gold orange yellow red and green of a Sugar Maple autumn foliage on the branches and across the green grass along a white picket fence
Acer saccharum
Image: Adria Photography/Getty

Height: 60-75 feet
Spread: 40-50 feet
Zones: 3-8
Fall color: Red, orange, gold
Care: Likes fertile, moist, well-draining soil; avoid planting near streets, because it’s salt-sensitive.
Value add: Long-living, up to 500 years; lots of shade from its dense crown; syrup from sap in spring.

Smoketree

closeup of vivid orange and golden leaves of a Smoketree in autumn
Cotinus coggygria
Image: apugach/Getty

Height: 10-15 feet
Spread: 12 feet
Zones: 5-8
Fall color: Magenta and purple
Care: Thrives in diverse, well-draining soil; likes a sunny home best.
Value add: Deer resistant; stunning accent tree or colorful shrub border; unusual wispy pink blooms in spring.

Katsura Tree

a Katsura tree has bright reddish orange and golden leaves changing in fall
Cercidiphyllum japonicium
Image: Arco Images / Huetter Christian/Getty

Height: 40-60 feet
Spread: 25-60 feet
Zones: 4-8
Fall color: Orange, gold, red
Care: OK, this one needs some special care — protection from wind and hot afternoon rays. But its unusual, open spread of up to 60 feet makes it worth the effort.
Value add: Fallen leaves can smell like cinnamon or burnt sugar — yummy!

Sourwood

vibrant red foliage of a Sourwood tree leaves in autumn with blurred background of trees that have already lost their leaves and other trees still changing color
Oxydendrum arboreum
Image: krblokhin/Getty

Height: 25-30 feet
Spread: 20 feet
Zones: 5-9
Fall color: Scarlet, purple foliage; silvery capsules
Care: Likes acidic and rich soil; keep moist.
Value add: Capsules provide winter interest, too; tree attracts bees that produce prized sourwood honey.

Scarlet Oak

close up of orange and green leaves of a Scarlet Oak tree in autumn
Quercus coccinea
Image: DianaLynne/Getty

Height: 50-70 feet
Spread: 40-50 feet
Zones: 4-9
Fall color: Bright scarlet
Care: Plant in dry-to-average, well-draining soil; even tolerates sandy conditions. Give it plenty of room to grow.
Value add: Fast growing; grind its acorns to thicken stews; large songbirds and wild turkeys love it.

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