8 Native Shrubs and Trees for Midwestern Fall Color

The resilient, versatile, and trouble-free chokeberry shrubs offer 4 seasons of beauty and food for wildlife. Flower and fruit thrive in full sun and wet, well-drained soil. 

1 – Chokeberry 

Planting these native alternatives to nurseries' Asian viburnums yields vibrant colors. Arrowwoods and black-haws turn red, yellow, or purple in autumn. 

2 – Viburnum

Native ninebark produces beautiful red, orange, and yellow fall foliage. Winter bark exfoliation adds beauty. Unless birds devour it, papery red fruit stays for winter.

3 – Ninebark

Thinking of replacing the invasive burning bush? Serviceberries—Juneberries—glow red, orange, and yellow in fall. White flowers bloom alongside the invasive Bradford pear in April.

4 – Serviceberry

Eastern Redbud's heart-shaped green leaves turn golden in fall and its irregular branching patterns are lovely in winter. Magenta-pink flowers attract spring butterflies and nectar-seekers.

5 – Redbud

Catch sumacs' orange, purple, and crimson fall colors. Better still, these low-maintenance plants simply need mowing or pruning. Smooth and staghorn sumac are readily accessible. 

6 – Sumac

Beautiful white bark and golden fall leaves on this tree. European and Asian birches are less borer-resistant. Natural birches support 35 bird, 413 butterfly, and moth species. 

7 – Birch

October brings orange-gold, yellow, or reddish-purple round swamp white oak leaves. Chipmunks, wild turkeys, ravens, flying squirrels, rabbits, opossums, blue jays, quail, raccoons, foxes, mallards, and oaks have 60 bird species.

8 – Oak

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