Red Foliage in the New Hampshire Landscape

It’s that time of year again when we start to see lots of out-of-state license plates. It is leaf-peeper season! New England foliage is known as some of the best color displays in the world, drawing thousands to New Hampshire to catch the first glimpses of it.Red Fall Foliage in NH

What’s your favorite fall foliage color? To be sure, the yellows and golds and oranges are bright – but it is the red foliage that gives the contrast to the others and really catches your eye. Did you know you can have red foliage in the New Hampshire landscape year-round? Here some landscape design tips for adding that deep color to your own yard:

Don’t overdo it. Just as in foliage season, red foliage in the home landscape is an accent color. Only one Japanese Maple per yard, please! Aside from being cost prohibitive, less is more when it comes to this stately anchor tree.

Reds will argue. Be careful not to mix the purple-reds and oranges-reds – they will clash. When placing red foliage trees in a planting bed, consider the color spectrum of the flowering plants around it. If you’re not sure, take some photos while they are blooming and match it up to the foliage of the tree or shrub before buying it.

Plant in full sun. Although some red-leafed trees and shrubs, like Dwarf Ninebark, will tolerate shade, your deepest foliage color will occur on plants that get at least four hours of direct sun. Remember, shade tolerant shrubs will grow in full sun; but full sun plants will not tolerate shade. There are some fantastic perennials with red foliage like Coral Bells (heuchera) ‘Obsidian’ or Elderberry ‘Black Lace’ that will hold that red color well in shade gardens.

Avoid invasives. About 10 years ago, three plants were added to the New Hampshire Cooperative Extension’s invasive plant species list – Burning Bush (Euonymous alatus), Crimson King Maple (Acer platanoides), and Barberry (Berberis thunbergii). You cannot buy these plants at a nursery or garden center because they are aggressive colonizers and will choke out native plants. If you have them in your yard, you don’t have to cut them down – but consider replacing them with non-invasive red leafed plants.

When would you like your red foliage? There are landscape plants that have read foliage just in the spring, all growing season, or only in the fall. Here are some suggestions:

Springtime Red Foliage

Mountain Fire Andromeda (Pieris japonica ‘Mountain Fire’)

Gold Flame Spirea (Spirea japonica ‘Gold Flame’)

All Season Red Foliage

Purple Smoke Bush (Cotinus coggygria ‘Royal Purple’)

Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum ‘Bloodgood’)

Weigela ‘Midnight wine’ (Weigela florida ‘Elvera’)

Diablo Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius)

Red Foliage In the Fall

Red Sunset Maple (Acer rubra ’Red Sunset’)

Highbush Blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum)

Korean Spice Viburnum (Viburnum carlesii)

Boston Ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidata ‘Veitchii)

Want to know more about adding a little red color into your landscape? Give our office a call. Fall is a great time for planting!

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