Video:Guide to Identifying Fall Foliagewith David Beaulieu
If you love leaf peeping in the colorful fall, then this video is for you. Learn how to identify different fall foliage, from trees to shrubs to vines.See Transcript
Transcript:Guide to Identifying Fall FoliageHello, this is David Beaulieu with for About.com, today we will be identifying some fall foliage plants.
Viewing Fall FoliageWhen you take an autumn drive to view the fall foliage you also use it as an opportunity to identify some plants that might look great in your own yard. You can do that by ahead of time brushing up on your identification of a few of the plants you will probably encounter. Armed with that knowledge you can let the wheels start turning and contemplate what might look great in your yard. Then when you return home go to the local nursery and inquire about the availability of a hybrid or cultivated variety of those plants.
Maple Fall FoliageNow behind me in this patch of wild plants is an example of what is perhaps the quintessential fall foliage tree of New England, the maple. You probably recognize the maple leaf shape, it has been immortalized for instance in the national flag of Canada. But new and improved versions, so to speak, ask at the local nursery for autumn blaze maple.
Sassafras Fall FoliageHere we see a leaf from a Sassafras tree, you will also see Sassafras with an orange fall color; sometimes orange and yellow on the same leaf which is quite interesting.
Sumac Fall FoliageThe plant with the red foliage here is called Sumac. It is a shrub and one of the first plants to put out its fall colors each year. Unlike the first 2 plants we identified it has what is called a compound leaf which means that each of these is considered an individual leaflet that comprises of the overall compound leaf. Sumac is especially easy to identify when it has its seeds though; the seeds are contained in a red, large, cone shaped mass that has a fuzzy look to it.
At the nursery, check for tiger eyes sumac. Tiger eyes has a golden summer foliage which morphs into an orangey foliage in the fall. And by the way, do not confuse this sumac with poison sumac. Poison sumac grows in swamps and puts out a berry that is an off-white in color.
Viburnum Fall FoliageAnother shrub that provides a nice fall color is viburnum, here is an example. As you can see there is a nice purple-y fall foliage color. Cultivated varieties of Viburnum called Korean Spice are widely available at nurseries.
White Ash Fall FoliageThis leaf belongs to what is called a white ash tree. The fall foliage of white ash begins as golden and eventually morphs into this deep purple, in fact at the nursery you can check for a variety called autumn purple. As you can see, this, like sumac has a compound leaf.
American Beech Fall FoliageThe larger tree in the back is called American Beach. American Beech can also under the right conditions have a nice golden bronze fall foliage, but it is perhaps better known as the tree that everyone wants to carve their initials in because it has such a bright smooth bark.
Fall Foliage VinesSo far we have considered trees and shrubs that provide colorful fall foliage but what about options for vines? And what about colorful berries in fall? Well take a look at this plant, it has been trimmed to give it more of a shrubby appearance, but it is actually a vine, its call Bittersweet. It produces this yellowish fall foliage, it will turn more golden eventually, but it is better known for its berry. The berry is a bright orange color that is surrounded by a golden husk. The husk eventually erupts as it has on this one to reveal the berry inside. It is a striking fall color combination, but here is the rub, this particular Bittersweet is what is known as Oriental Bittersweet it is one of the worst invasive plants of North America.
You would never want to plant it in your yard, if you ever made that mistake you would be kicking yourself for years thereafter as you tried to eradicate it from your landscape. But here is what you can do, go to a trusted nursery and ask for American Bittersweet, specifically. It is a tamer version of this; it is a native plant of North America.
Other plants that provide colorful berries in fall include Beauty Berry which puts out a purple berry and Winter Berry which has a bright red berry. For more information on fall foliage plants browse the landscaping trees section at About.com. Thanks for watching.
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