How to Identify Trees With Dark Red Leaves

Deciduous tree leaves turn red in the fall because the parent tree doesn't produce enough chlorophyll to keep them green. This condition causes pigments called anthocyanins to change the color of the leaves from green to the fall foliage colors. The shade of red varies, depending on the type of tree. Dark red leaves range from burgundy to shades that border on purple. But they all have one thing in common--they add striking beauty and interest to the autumn landscape. Adding trees that turn dark red to your yard will give you a beautiful showpiece in the autumn. Study the leaves' characteristics to determine what kind of tree drops which leaves.

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Study the shape, size and stem-placement to identify dark red leaves.
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Red-leafed plum trees have pinkish-red leaves that turn purplish-red in the fall.

Look for the leaves of a red leaf plum tree. The small, scalloped-edged leaves are pinkish-red in the spring and turn to a purplish-red color in the fall. Another distinguishing feature of the tree is its pale pink or white blooms in the spring.

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The leaves of the Japanese maple turn from dark red to crimson in autumn.

You can identify the red-leafed Japanese maple by its sharp, pointy leaves with seven lobes on the tips. The Acer palmatum atropurpureum is a midsized ornamental shade tree. The foliage turns from a dark burgundy in springtime to crimson in autumn.

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Crabapple trees turn from yellow-green to red in autumn.

Pair sharp-toothed red leaves up with crabapples. They are likely from a Wisley Crab cultivar of crabapple tree. The foliage turns from yellow-green to red in the fall. The tree also has rough, scaly bark.

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Red maple trees grow from the East Coast to Minnesota.

Match triangle-shaped leaves with a red maple (also called swamp maple, water maple or scarlet maple). This distinctive tree reaches heights of 90 feet, and has long, wide leaves, measuring 2 inches to 4 inches in both directions. Red maple grows in timber stands from the East Coast to Minnesota.

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Oak leaves' distinctive shape make them easy to identify.

Identify an Eastern white oak by its purple-red leaves. This tree is also known as fork-leaf oak or ridge white oak. Its leaves measure 4 inches to 10 inches in length, are thin and somewhat rectangular in shape.

Step 6

Spot a black gum tree or black tupelo if the leaves turn from a glossy green to a bright red in autumn. The tree also grows distinctive bluish-black fruit and blooms with green flowers in spring.