Last week’s first freeze of the season has spurred a lot of great color in our North Texas landscapes and woodlands. Driving home just a couple of days ago, I was reminded that we do have nice fall color here in Texas. Maybe not close to the standards of Vermont and New Hampshire at the end of September, but still handsome enough to be mentioned.
And so, I decided to backtrack my trip, this time with a camera. I thought it would be fun to see what color I could find within 5 miles of my house. Every one of these photos was taken within the past several days. Some are native plants, and others are landscape plants. The common thread through them all is one of lovely fall color.
But first, one caveat. Fall color is very short-lived, often just a few days before the plant drops its leaves. So let it be a consideration in your choice of landscaping plants, but don’t let it be the only or even prime factor. Buy plants that are attractive and dependable year-round.
As a side note on Japanese maples, make plans to visit the Fort Worth Botanic Garden, specifically the outstanding Japanese Garden, between Thanksgiving and early December. There is no more spectacular fall color display in North Texas than what you’ll find down in that hollow. Take the family, the camera and all of your memory cards. You’ll want to have them all along with you.
Those are the plants that I came across on my little driving journey this week. Missing are a couple of the other truly fine performers that you might want to consider. If you don’t mind short, productive life expectancies, Aristocrat pears are always ablaze in the late fall — usually Thanksgiving or after. They’re better than Bradford pears, because Aristocrats have much stronger branch angles, but they’re still probably only going to be good for 25 years or so.
If you’re one of the lucky people with sandy soils, sweetgums are fabulous every fall. In fact, of all the trees that grow natively in Texas (they’re from East Texas), sweetgums are best of the bunch for fall color. Unfortunately, for those of us with alkaline black clay soils, they soon develop severe iron chlorosis.
Well, I’m back home again and it’s time to file my report. I enjoyed having you along for the ride. I hope it was of value to you as well.