Cercidiphyllum japonicum – Katsura is a disease-resistant shade tree growing 40 to 60 feet tall with small heart-shaped leaves that emerge reddish-purple, shifting to yellow and reddish-orange in the fall. These trees will often emit the mouth-watering scent of caramel or burnt sugar at this time. A weeping form, ‘Pendulum’, would be suitable for smaller gardens. Zone 5 hardy.
Parrotia persica – Persian Ironwood is a slow-growing species that matures at 20′ to 40′ tall. A member of the Witch Hazel family, it bears tiny reddish blooms on bare stems in late winter and features attractive grey to brown exfoliating bark. The autumn foliar tones of red, orange, pink and yellow are absolutely spectacular. Hardy to zone 5.
Oxydendrum arboreum – Sourwood is an eastern North American native that slowly grows into a large shrub or tree, averaging 25′ to 30′ in most gardens. It bears Pieris-like flowers in summer, with interesting seedheads that persist into winter. The fall foliage is usually a rich maroon, verging on plum, with occasional yellow highlights. Zone 6 hardy.
Acer circinatum – This Bristish Columbian native is quite variable in form, growing with heavily arching stems (hence the common name Vine Maple) in the shade and standing upright in full sun exposures. It is often trained as a multistem specimen and its smaller stature (to 15′ tall) makes it ideal for condominium gardens. In shade the fall colours are yellow, but in sun they intensify to bright orange and scarlet. Zone 6 hardy.
Liquidambar styraciflua – Sweetgum is another disease-resistant street tree that tolerates wet or heavy soils and holds its leaves late into the fall. During this time the maple-shaped foliage takes on yellow, orange, red and burgundy-black tones. The cultivar ‘Worplesdon’ has finer cut leaves and a pyramidal form, that broadens with age. Height averages 40′ tall in 20 years and hardy to zone 6.