Trees That Lose Leaves in Winter

Deciduous trees shed their leaves before entering their winter dormant stage. Often, these leaves begin to change from green to shades of red and yellow, prior to falling from the tree. These trees form new leaf buds in the spring, when temperatures begin to rise. Many varieties of deciduous trees enhance landscapes with their ever-changing foliage.

Freeman Maple

Treasured by many gardeners for their exquisite, fall colors, Freeman maple trees (Acer x freemani) thrive in moist soils. These trees grow to a mature size near 45 feet and reach a width of about 35 feet. This hybrid maple forms a rounded shape in your landscape, making it a good choice to plant near the center of your yard. Freeman maples prefer slightly alkaline soils and grow in hardiness Zones 3 through 9. These create an attractive contrast near evergreen trees.

Red Maple

Red maple trees (Acer rubrum) also add bright color to your autumn landscape. These maple trees produce red blossoms in the spring in damp soils. Red maples grow quickly to reach a height of 45 feet and a width near 40 feet, making them an attractive tree to plant along the street. Thriving in moderate climates, they grow well in altitudes below 6,000 feet, but do not tolerate locations with alkaline soils.

Black Ash

An upright, narrow tree, Black ash trees (Fraxinus nigra) grow about 45 feet tall and 20 feet wide. Unlike some varieties of ash trees, these trees do not form seeds. Their leaves turn a golden shade of yellow during the fall season. A native to eastern parts of North America, these trees withstand cold, freezing temperatures found in Zone 2. Their spreading roots require plenty of room to expand. Plant them at least 30 feet from your home to allow sufficient space for roots.

Plains Cottonwood

Plains cottonwoods (Populus sargentii) grow naturally along rivers and waterways. A native of the plains, these cottonwoods grow rapidly to a height near 80 feet and a width around 50 feet. They thrive in moist, well-drained soils. A hardy tree, the cottonwood withstands hard freezes and the hot, summer temperatures found in Kansas, Nebraska and eastern Colorado. The female of this species forms cottony seed clumps that blow along on the wind, while the males do not form seeds. Keep these large trees at least 75 feet away from your home to avoid damage caused by their massive roots and heavy branches.

Bur Oak

Bur oaks (Quercus robur) grow slowly to reach a height of about 60 feet and a width of approximately 50 feet. This broad, spreading tree requires minimal amounts of water and tolerates droughts and alkaline soils. These trees grow naturally in many areas of the United States, from North Dakota through Texas and even into the state of Maine, making them ideal for a broad range of climates. In addition to losing leaves, this deciduous tree forms small acorns with fringed caps. These seeds often take root in the soil near the parent tree. Place these trees in an area where they can spread and form small groves.

Keywords: deciduous trees, trees lose leaves, autumn color trees

About this Author

Piper Li, a professional freelance writer, began writing in 1989. Her articles appear in Modern Mom, Biz Mojo, Walden University and GardenGuides. She is the co-editor for "Kansas Women: Focus on Health." With a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Mesa State, Li enjoys writing about health, horticulture and business management.