From my garden: Brilliant liquid amber trees say it’s fall in San Diego
Published - 11/07/17 - 04:19 PM | 8539 views | 0 0 comments | 413 413 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Along the coastal regions of  we don't see a lot of deciduous trees with leaves that change color in the fall, but one standout is the Liquid Amber (Liquidambar styracifula) that does well in our temperate climate. During the fall I enjoy driving along certain streets in  to see the Liquid Amber trees that grow nearby and the sight of these trees cloaked in their fall colors reminds me that Thanksgiving is near, even when it was 90 degrees outside.

Also known as the American sweetgum, once established the Liquid Amber will grow 2 to 3 feet per year and can reach heights of 30 to 70 feet.  Their maple-like leaves turn to amber hues in the fall and some varieties can have thorny seed pods, but newer hybrids can be purchased that do not produce them.  As with all deciduous trees, the Liquid Amber will drop its leaves in the fall and during winter months you can enjoy the bare architecture of its trunk and branches.  In the spring, tender green leaves appear and by summer the tree will provide much needed shade during the warmer months.  

Deciduous trees that drop their leaves in the fall are not that popular due to their upkeep, but the fallen leaves actually protect the trees roots, are good for the soil as they breakdown, so it is not always necessary to clear them away.  Last year, we lost a very old peach tree and I miss they way it decorated the garden with its fallen golden leaves in the fall.  The shredded leaves also made great mulch. 

Other trees that will bring fall color to the landscape and do well in  are; Ginkgo bilobo (maidenhair), which has leaves that turn golden in the fall.  Lagerstromia (crape myrtle) is covered with pink red or purple flowers from summer to fall and yellow, orange or red leaves in fall, depending on the variety you choose.  Pistacia chinensis(Chinese pistache) leaves will turn red, orange, or yellow.  All of these trees are available a local nurseries that specialize in trees and if you are considering planting a large tree (these can all grow 30-60 feet high), plant it away from your foundation and consult with the nursery about the environment you plan to plant them in.  All of these trees, including the Liquid Amber are considered water-wise trees.
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