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Fall Color in Dallas 2018


Sweetgum tree with brilliant fall color at Raincatcher’s Garden


This Fall has been spectacular with so many kinds of trees with brilliant fall colors. Some had said it has to do with our long hot summer while others have said the rain came at just the right time and it’s a combination of the two weather factors.

What do you think is causing such beautiful fall color in 2018?

What trees would you recommend for fall color? Say someone wants to buy a tree this fall in hopes for future fall color in their yard.

What about Shantung Maples, I see alot of those in my neighborhood and I like the shape of them. Ann

Hi Ann – So good to hear from you. I agree with you 100 % on the beautiful fall colors for many of our trees in the Urban Forest. There are many different opinions on the reasons for the beautiful colors this Fall. The truth is that tree people know that temperature(highs and lows), water, first freeze date, all play a part in the Fall colors but cannot figure out the exact timing of these variables to come up with a nice tidy equation that will let us all know when to expect the beautiful  colors.

My neighbor from New York planted a Bradford Pear a few years ago . She loved the Fall colors but also found out the final ending for Bradford Pears is not pretty. I suggested she might want to look at the Shantung Maple. She planted one four years ago and every year would ask me when the beautiful oranges and reds would show up. I told her to be patient, the yellow colors looked great but it wasn’t until this Fall that she finally got the brilliant oranges that she has been waiting on. I am thinking of trying one of the Shantung maples at RCG. I have given up on the Ginkgo. They require too much tender loving care for the first two years and we need to recommend trees that are hardy and can survive with a minimum amount of care to the public. I would also like to be able to fine a Big Tooth Maple but availability in the nurseries is very limited.

I think you are on the right trail with the Shantung.

Have a great Holiday season,


Thank you,Eric, and thank you for all the effort and thought you put into our demonstration forest at Raincatcher’s!

Ann Lamb

Picture by Starla Willis

Eric Larner is a Dallas County Master Gardener from the class of 2006 and a Citizen Forester. He and his wife, Jane(also a Master Gardener) work at The Raincatcher’s Garden and many other places in Dallas planting and speaking about trees.


About Dallas Garden Buzz

Dallas County Master Gardeners growing and sharing from The Raincatcher's Garden.

4 responses »

  1. mollienewman2014

    Ann is so right about the colors this year! Beautiful!

    Sent from my iPad

  2. All – Its interesting that so many people think this year is the most spectacular. Im in the landscape business and I watch each year, and with my own garden that Ive planted a lot of fall color plants, I think the color is great every year, just different shades of fall colors.
    If you’ve never been to Metro Maples in south Ft Worth, it really should be on your radar. They’re open to the public on Saturday mornings, I think, and by appointment other times.
    They have developed a type of Shantung Maple called Fire-dragon (TM) and it gets GORGEOUS color – mines in the ground about 6 years and as it’s grown, I get more and more color each year !
    I also bought a a couple Trident maples out there, and a Mexican Mountain Maple thats similar to our Caddo, which is hard to find.
    Ive found that buying them very small, like in quart, gallon, or maybe 5 gal size, allows the the roots to establish better than the larger caliper Maples, which may actually come from more northern climates to here and are harder to get to adapt.
    For some other great fall color: Japanese Maples, Dogwoods, Chinese Pistache, Japanese Persimmons, Rusty Blackhaw Viburnum, Aromatic Sumac, Burning Bush ( Euonymous alatus) Crapemyrtles ( each variety has it’s own distinct coloration) and several varieties of Hydrangea, especially quercefolia, panniculata.


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