Posts Tagged ‘Autumn leaf color’

Eastern white pine (Pinus strobus) won’t ever make the short list of plants grown for fall color, but this native species is pretty this time of year nonetheless. The two- and three-year-old needles are now turning yellow and dropping, so don’t worry if your trees have lots of yellow needles. This feature is widely ignored in descriptions of the species, which simply list the plants as evergreen, but the patterns the yellow and green needles create really are quite pretty. So, as long as the needles on the tips of the branches on your white pines are still green, they are healthy and right on schedule.


Above: Yellow and green needles on Eastern white pine make a pretty, if subtle, pattern.

White pines are valuable, long-lived evergreens. This species once covered much of the northeast, and 200- to 220-foot-tall trees were common. Logging from the 18th to early 20th century claimed all but about one percent of virgin stands. Today in cultivation, mature white pines typically reach 75 to 100 feet and spread to 75 feet. Virgin stands still exist in Great Smokey National Park and a few other locations—they are worth visiting! (See “Range” at this link for a list!) Although white pines are happiest in moist, well-drained soil, they tolerate dry to average conditions, sand or heavy clay, pH that runs from 4 to 6.5, and part shade to full sun.



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While our recent wild weather whipped away lots of leaves and damaged a great many flowers, undaunted trees along our creek are really beginning to color up for fall. Despite the weather, in the garden I still have bubblegum pink blooms covering my fall-blooming Camellia sasanqua, mounds of marginally tattered chrysanthemum ‘Sheffield Pink’, and aster ‘Raydon’s Favorite’ (Symphyotrichum oblongifolius) in bloom. Plus, sprinkled throughout are flowering salvias,  roses, calamint (Calamintha nepeta nepeta), and a lone pale pink balloon flower (Platycodon grandiflorus). I swear next year I need to add some of the fall blooming bulbs to add to the show!



Above: Tupelo and holly on the creek.


Outstanding fall foliage is high on my list when considering trees and shrubs to plant. Tupelos (Nyssa sylvatica) probably top my list here. The one I planted on the bank along the roadside this fall won’t rival the ones growing along the creek during my lifetime, but I’m still happy that it’s there. I’ll get my share of enjoyment from it, and with any luck it will be here for the next person to own this place. I’ve also managed to transplant a couple of oak seedlings that showed outstanding fall color—I think both are black oak hybrids (Quercus velutina). They seem to have established themselves as well. Oh, and then there’s my little, newly planted ‘Ruby Slippers’ oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia). Now there’s some great fall color!



Above: Oakleaf hydrangea ‘Ruby Slippers’ has maintained scarlet foliage since October.


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