4 Trees To Plant for Colorful Fall Foliage in the Grand Strand Area

Here in North and South Carolina along the “Grand Strand,” we are blessed with beautiful, pristine, sandy white beaches, crystal ocean surf, and tropical vegetation. Despite our warmer, humid climate, typically between the end of October and early November, many of our trees and shrubs turn delightful shades of reds, yellows, and orange fall foliage. There are plenty of places to view these picturesque scenes, including some of our most notable parks and trails. But what if you want to have a palette of colors in your own back or front yard?

Impeccable Lawns is here to help. We’ve compiled a list of the four most common and popular trees that will grow and thrive along the coast of North and South Carolina that will also provide you with an abundance of color each fall.

First, Why Do Leaves Change Colors?fall colors

Let’s first understand why the leaves of deciduous trees change color in the first place. As the weather turns cooler and the days become shorter, trees that lose their leaves for the winter shut down their chlorophyll production or food-making process. This causes the green color that typically exists to cease. Chemical changes occurring simultaneously give rise to a variety of colors including the orange, yellows, and reddish purples we often see. How vibrant a fall we receive, usually depends on the weather leading up to the peak season. Extreme weather, droughts, and above-average temperatures can impact the colors. Also, rainy, and windy
weather could knock down leaves and shorten the time of color.

Now, onto the top four trees, you can plant today that will start your journey into luscious fall foliage for years to come.

Maple Trees

Maple Trees are one of the few trees that provide beautiful colors not just during the fall but during all four seasons. In the spring, you can expect amazing flower blooms. In the summer, the leaves are dark emerald green and in the fall, various maple trees showcase dynamic shades of orange, reds, and yellow. Maple trees are a sturdy, hefty bunch with the ability to grow incredibly fast. With their large branches and strong root system, they provide endless hours of shade. These delightful trees are easy to maintain, grow well in full sun and partial shade, and can be grown in just about any soil.


If you are looking for a tree whose leaves turn a beautiful color in the fall and can withstand salt from our nearby coastline, the Ginkgo tree is for you. This unsung hero is one of nature’s oldest trees, dating back almost two million years. The ginkgo’s uniquely fan-shaped leaves turn a brilliant gold in the fall. Often, there is a stage during which the leaf is two-toned, with separate bands of gold and green, making it even more of a showstopper.

Ginkgo trees are often found along sidewalks and landscapes in urban areas. This is because they have an innate ability to withstand pollution, poor soil, drought, cramped spaces, and salt, as mentioned above. The ginkgo tree prefers full sun to partial shade and well-drained yet moist soil.

Flowering Dogwooddogwood tree with blossoms

The state tree of North Carolina, the flowering dogwood, is a favorite here in the south. These delightful trees come in many different shapes and sizes but typically grow to about 25 feet tall and 40 feet wide. It is best known for its spring display of delicate flowers and strong fragrance. The flowers bloom white or pink and attract all sorts of pollinators, including honeybees and hummingbirds.

In coastal North and South Carolina, it turns a deep shade of reddish-purple in the fall while producing a cluster of wild berries. It prefers acidic, moist, well-drained soil with lots of sun, making it a great tree for our tropical climate. Be sure to keep this charming lawn ornament properly irrigated as it will suffer leaf scorches if not properly hydrated.

Sweet Gum

Native to the south and found here in North and South Carolina, the sweet gum tree is typically found in swampy areas due to the fact that it tolerates lots of moisture. Its star-shaped leaves leave off a pleasant, sweet smell if crushed. In the fall, they turn a spectacular variety of colors ranging from yellow to deep purple. It is very popular amongst urban streets and parks due to its high resistance to pests.

Once established, sweet gums need very little care. They can grow in almost any type of soil but prefer it to be moist. They require full sun or partial shade and can tolerate occasional drought. A downfall to the sweet gum tree is its growth of seed pods, otherwise known as gumballs. These spiky clusters are actually balls of fruit with tiny seeds inside which birds and squirrels snack on, but they can be a hazard and a mess to clean up.

For All Your Tree and Shrub Care Needs, Contact Impeccable Lawns

For whatever trees you have on your North or South Carolina lawn, Impeccable Lawns is your go-to for all your tree and shrub care needs. Our comprehensive tree & shrub care program was developed specifically to promote healthy growth and protect your landscape from pests, disease, fungi, and heat and drought stress. Contact us and we can discuss ways to keep your trees and shrubs healthy, as well as assist
you in deciding what new trees to plant. Call us today at 910-575-5296 or visit us online and fill out our online contact form.

For more informative articles on all things lawn, tree and shrub care, and landscaping, visit our monthly blog series.


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