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You can find color in fall Louisiana landscapes

News Release Distributed 11/28/14

By Allen Owings

LSU AgCenter horticulturist

HAMMOND, La. – Your landscape can include many trees and shrubs that will provide significant color in fall and winter year after year. Although decidedly less-than-spectacular this far south, early to mid-November until early December are when the leaves of some deciduous trees turn various colors as they get ready to drop.

A few of the trees that reliably color up well in Louisiana include ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba), sweet gum (Liquidambar styraciflua), Chinese pistachio (Pistachia chinensis), Callery pears (Pyrus calleryana), black gum (Nyssa sylvatica), crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica), dogwood (Cornus florida), Japanese maple (Acer palmatum) and some oaks. Southern sugar maple (Acer barbatum), a Louisiana Super Plant, has great fall foliage color each year.

Generally, the farther south you live in Louisiana, the less fall color you will see. Fall foliage color will vary year to year. Dry conditions in the fall with gradually cooling temperatures accompanied by light frosts without freezes favor fall foliage color in trees.

Plants also provide color in fall and fruit in winter. Hollies, with their brilliant red berries, are notable in this regard. Excellent choices for Louisiana include the popular Savannah holly and Foster’s holly (Ilex x attenuata Savannah and Fosteri), both small trees. Beautiful native hollies include the dahoon holly (Ilex cassine), yaupon holly (Ilex vomitoria), deciduous holly (Ilex decidua) and winterberry (Ilex verticillata). A great thing about holly berries is that they are excellent wildlife food.

Shrubby hollies also produce colorful berries. Varieties include Burford, Dwarf Burford, Nellie R. Stevens, Needlepoint, Dixie Star, Dixie Flame and many others.

For flowers in fall and early winter, choose sasanquas (Camellia sasanqua), which are one of those indispensable shrubs for Louisiana landscapes and bloom from October well into December.

Camellias (Camellia japonica) will begin to bloom in November and continue through winter until spring. Try the new camellias from the Southern Living plant collection, which includes the increasingly popular October Magic series developed by Alabama nursery grower Bobby Green. Every Louisiana landscape should have a planting of ShiShi Gashira camellias.

Roses also add fall and early winter color. Everblooming roses put on a wonderful show in October and November and will often continue to bloom through mid-December and beyond – weather permitting. Our north Louisiana temperatures early in November hurt fall rose blooms, but some roses in south Louisiana still have flowers.

Although generally not known for their fall blooming, azaleas that bloom during seasons other than spring are becoming more popular. The Encore azalea series is well-known for fall bloom. Also notable are some of the Robin Hill azaleas such as Watchet and Conversation Piece (a Louisiana Super Plant) and the popular Glen Dale variety called Fashion.

We often associate spring with colorful landscapes, but we need to remember that we can have vibrant foliage and flowers in fall with proper plant selection. Many plants providing fall color mentioned in this article are planted in the Margie Jenkins Azalea Garden at the LSU AgCenter Hammond Research Station.

You can see more about work being done in landscape horticulture by visiting the LSU AgCenter Hammond Research Station website. Also, like us on Facebook. You can find an abundance of landscape information for both home gardeners and industry professionals at both sites.

Rick Bogren

Last Updated: 11/21/2014 3:52:30 PM

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