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Driving through the New England countryside gasping at the brilliant fall leaves is a favorite rite of autumn. Add some cold cider and a warm cinnamon donut and, well, excuse us a moment while we swoon in delight.

But why leave your house to experience the best part of autumn? Plant the right trees in your own yard and you can look forward to the annual leaf show from the comforts of home.

Fall is a perfect time to plant new trees in your landscape — here are 10 trees to plant now in your New York or Connecticut landscape to ensure spectacular fall color every year:

Tree #1: Maple

10 Trees To Plant Now For Spectacular Fall Color Next Year

Well, of course. We begin with fall’s most famous tree. It’s hard to beat the intense red, orange and yellow leaves of the maple.

While the most spectacular trees that make you gasp from the roadside are huge — sugar maples can grow to 75 feet tall — maples come in a variety of sizes, so they work in any landscape. Don’t forget the lovely, lacy-leaf Japanese maple for smaller spots.

Tree #2: Ginkgo

10 Trees To Plant Now For Spectacular Fall Color Next Year

If you love yellow, Ginkgo is your tree. It offers up gorgeous yellow fan-shaped leaves each fall. And they’re great dinner party conversation: did you know they’re practically fossils?

Ginkgos are the last survivors of tree varieties that grew 200 million years ago. The umbrella-shaped ginkgo tree is also great at resisting insects and disease.

Tree #3: Witch Hazel

10 Trees To Plant Now For Spectacular Fall Color Next Year

Another yellow stunner, witch hazel is a small tree that packs a wallop, offering fragrance, flowers and a golden glow. Even after the yellow leaves fall off, yellow flowers appear at the end of autumn, hanging in there even through the snow. Sniff — they smell like spice.

Tree #4: Sweetgum

sweetgum tree

Red leaf lovers, meet sweetgum. It’s a fast-growing tree with spectacular red autumn leaves that tend to hang on the branches longer than most others. That means more time for oohing and aahing.

Tree #5: Smokebush


Also known as smoketree, this beauty delights in the summer with yellow flowers, then bursts into crimson red in autumn. Use it as a shrub or it can be pruned into a small tree.

After the yellow flowers fade in June, long, fuzzy pink stalks appear, giving the illusion of hazy smoke. Then get ready for brilliant orange or crimson red leaves, depending on the variety.

Tree #6:  Sweet Birch

sweet birch

Another yellow lovely, sweet birch offers more than an autumn show. It’s a great shade tree in summer and is better than most birches at warding off the pesky bronze birch borer, which devours many birch trees.

Tree #7: Red Twig Dogwood


This great tree has it all: clusters of pretty white blooms in the spring, plum-colored fruit that attracts birds and beautiful red leaves in the fall. Bonus: ruby red stems that continue to impress once the leaves have dropped.

Here’s a tip: for the reddest stems, look for the “Arctic Fire” variety.

Tree #8: Katsura


This lesser-known tree still packs a punch. A great shade tree in summer, its heart-shaped leaves turn yellow to tangerine hue in the fall. And, as the leaves start to fall, inhale: you’ll notice a spicy-sweet smell.

Tree #9: Sassafras

This tree wins the prize for most fun to say out loud.  And the fun continues with pumpkin-colored fall leaves, mosquito-repelling properties, and a licorice scent. Heck, you might want to plant two.

Tree #10: Redbud

Best known for its lovely pink flowers in the spring, redbud offers pretty golden heart-shaped leaves in the fall. Bonus: unlike most showy autumn trees that love sun, redbud will grow in light shade.

You Picked Your Trees: Now What?

Now you get them in the ground. Fall is a great time to plant trees and shrubs; the season’s cool, moist soil offers these plants a head start on establishing roots.

Neave Landscaping offers tree planting and tree care year round — and our services include a comprehensive environmental inspection to ensure your new trees and shrubs will thrive in their new home.

Once your trees are in, you can depend on Neave’s tree experts for all your tree maintenance needs. Custom design a care plan for your trees, shrubs and other plant life so all your growing things stay healthy and beautiful for years to come.

If you’re in the Hudson Valley, call us at (845) 463-0592. If you’re in Westchester County, call (914) 271-7996; from Connecticut, dial (203) 212-4800. Or, fill out our simple web form, and we’ll contact you about setting up your free consultation.

Pour the cider, grab a donut and bring on the fall color show!

10 Trees To Plant Now For Spectacular Fall Color Next Year

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