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Plant These Trees in Southern Michigan for Autumn Color

Beautiful Autumn Tree
October in Michigan is peak season for fall foliage. The Upper Peninsula and northern tip of the state will see peak color in early October, while southern portions of Michigan will have the best leaf displays in mid-October.
If your landscape lacks color in autumn, add seasonal interest with trees that are proven showoffs. Here's more information about the best tree varieties for Southern Michigan landscapes.
Tree Choices in Southern Michigan
The climate and growing season in the southern part of Michigan are ideal for growing the widest assortment of trees in the state. Hardwood trees found in the northern and central regions will grow happily next to hardwoods native to Southern Michigan.
As you plan your fall-color landscape, research the mature sizes of the trees you like the most. Some trees grow over 100 feet tall and may not work in your landscape. Choose smaller trees that can be pruned or that don't have large growth habits. You'll fit more color by planting shorter trees in a modest yard.
Mix up colors to add extra seasonal color to your property. For example, plant a tall tree with yellow fall foliage next to a mid-size tree with orange foliage. Flank the trees with shrubbery that turns burgundy. You can create a rainbow of autumn hues by creating tree arrangements with an array of colors.
Red and Crimson Leaves
Scarlet oak (Quercus coccinea) is a wonderful choice for brilliant red and crimson fall color in Southern Michigan. The tree only reaches 40 to 75 feet at maturity, so it isn't as tall a commitment as some of the loftier oak tree varieties.
Other trees that display red leaves in autumn include:
  • Bald cypress (Taxodium distichum)
  • Sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua)
  • Blackgum (Nyssa sylvatica)
  • Amur maple (Acer ginnala)
  • Dogwood (Cornus kousa)
Several tree varieties display a range of yellow, orange, and red leaves on the same tree in autumn. For this effect, choose the Stewartia tree (Stewartia pseudocamellia), or plant a Common sassafras (Sassafras albidum) tree that offers golden, orange, and red leaves in fall.
Orange Foliage
Fewer trees turn orange than the varieties that turn red or yellow as the air grows crisp. But you have some great choices for orange in the maple family. For bold, orange autumn hues on a tall tree, plant a Crimson King maple (Acer platanoises 'Crimson King') or a sugar maple (Acer saccarinum).
The following trees and large shrubs also turn orange in autumn:
  • Katsuratree (Cercidiphyllum japonicum)
  • Redvein enkianthus (Enkianthus campanulatus)
  • Staghorn sumac (Rhus typhina)
The modest-sized Amur maple (Acer ginnala) is listed above as a small tree for red color, but this diminutive tree is also known for leaves that turn bright orange on some plants. Some Japanese maple varieties also offer orange autumn color on slow-growing trees.
Gold and Yellow Choices
The stunning White Tigress striped bark maple (Acer 'White Tigress') is a showy tree that has interesting bark and creamy golden leaves in autumn. The White Tigress maple only grows up to 20 feet tall at maturity, so it's perfect for smaller yards and gardens.
Choose one of the following trees for more yellow and gold accents in your fall landscape:
  • Quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides)
  • Bigtooth aspen (Populus grandidentata)
  • Shagbark hickory (Carya ovata)
  • Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba)
  • Paperbark birch (Betula papyrifera)
  • Green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica)
  • Black walnut (Juglans nigra)
Numerous choices of trees turn yellow in autumn. Some varieties have leaves that are edged with red and orange. Some varieties of trees have variations of gold and bronze leaves on the same plant.
Learn more about how to plant trees for autumn color by contacting the tree experts at J & B Professional Tree Service Inc today. We safely remove unwanted trees in Portage, Michigan, so you can plant the showy autumn trees you prefer in your landscape.