Reno landscaping experts Antonucci Lawn and Garden would like to look at some of the beautiful Northern Nevada fall colors that surround our area and are some of our most popular fall plants and trees.


Get inspired by Northern Nevada fall colors and incorporate them into your Reno landscaping design project. Let’s start by explaining why leaves turn color in the fall. Many think that cool weather or frost causes the leaves to change color. While the temperature may dictate the color and its intensity, it is only one of many environmental factors that play a part in the beautiful Northern Nevada fall colors.

Plants and trees take water from the ground through their roots. This water then travels up to the leaves, which becomes their food source. They take in a gas called carbon dioxide from the air. Plants use sunlight to turn water and carbon dioxide into oxygen and glucose. Oxygen is a gas in the air that we need to breathe. Glucose is a kind of sugar that plants use as food for energy and as a building block for growing. The way plants turn water and carbon dioxide into oxygen and sugar is called photosynthesis. A chemical called chlorophyll helps make photosynthesis happen. Chlorophyll is what gives plants their green color.

Fall Cycle

As summer ends and autumn comes, the days get shorter and shorter. This is how the trees begin getting ready for winter. They begin to stop their food-making process. The green chlorophyll will then disappear from the leaves. As the bright green fades away, you will begin to see yellow and orange colors.

Small amounts of these colors have been in the leaves all along. We just can’t see them in the summer because they are covered up by the green chlorophyll. The bright reds and purples we see in leaves are made mostly in the fall.

In some trees, like maples, glucose is trapped in the leaves after photosynthesis stops. Sunlight and the cool nights of autumn cause the leaves to turn this glucose into a red color. The brown color of trees like oaks is made from wastes left in the leaves. It is the combination of all these things that make the Northern Nevada fall colors such a delight to experience year in, and year out.

Winter Cycle

During winter when there is not enough light or water for photosynthesis, the trees will rest, and live off the food they stored during the summer. So why do leaves detach themselves from the tree in the fall? Contrary to popular belief, the wind is not causing the leaves the fall.

Rather, the leaves themselves are the reason. When the cold weather and shorter days come, the leaves develop a thin line of cells that actually push themselves away and eventually off the tree’s stem. If the leaves did not fall, they would continue to draw water from the ground.

However, when the first freeze comes, the water will be caught in the leaf vein, thereby freezing and killing the leaf. Hence, the tree would not produce another leaf to replace the one that died. So the trees need to shed their leaves in order to produce fresh ones in the spring and continue their growth pattern.


Tree Varieties of Northern Nevada – Landscaping in Reno

Maple Trees:

Maple trees are some of the most colorful and beautiful trees in the Eastern Sierras. Their brilliant red and orange colors cover the High Sierra Mountains during the fall. These Northern Nevada fall colors are an incredible backdrop to Lake Tahoe. Maple trees can reach heights of 50 feet and a width of up to 40 feet. these trees create great shade in your yard and will give you fall beauty year in and year out.

Quaking Aspen Trees:

Aspen trees are the most populated tree in Northern Nevada and the most stand out fall color tree in the High Sierra Mountains. They are the most widely distributed tree species in North America. The bright yellow/orange leaves of the Quaking Aspen are a definite site to see. What makes the Aspen so special, especially in the fall, is when a small breeze picks up in the afternoon, the leaves “quake”, causing the colors to become much more brilliant than any other tree in Northern Nevada. The white bark is a very familiar characteristic of the Quaking Aspens. This is one tree that truly defines the Eastern Sierra Mountains.

Chanticleer Pear Tree:

The Chanticleer Pear tree is a homeowner’s favorite here in Northern Nevada. It stands between 30 and 40 feet and is fairly narrow, making it ideal for smaller backyards. These trees bloom beautiful white flowers in the spring and turn a reddish/purple color in the fall.

Burning Bush Plant:

The Burning Bush offers an explosion of crimson red color during the fall and is one of the most decorative fall plants you can have in your yard. This a very versatile and hardy plant that does not require a lot of maintenance. One suggestion would be to fertilize very early in spring in order to get the most out of your spring growth. Other than the occasional pruning, Burning Bush’s natural shape is very appealing.


Next, check out one of our favorites, the Autumn Blaze Maple Tree.

No matter what your favorite fall tree is, the beauty of Northern Nevada in the fall is undeniable. Northern Nevada fall colors have always been an attraction to many visitors from warmer climates who do not experience the beauty of fall. Use the fall colors to inspire your next Reno landscaping design project. For more Reno landscaping tips, or to request a consultation, visit Antonucci Lawn and Garden.
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