Q. My wife and I were noticing the difference in the fall color of oak leaves. How do you increase the likelihood that a deciduous oak is going to have an attractive and showy fall leaf color?

A. There are several factors that contribute to fall leaf color. Select the right species. Texas red oak and Shumard oak are most likely to produce leaves with good color. When you buy a new tree, do so in the autumn and select a specimen that is showing good color. The weather also makes a difference. If you have a species and an individual tree that is prone to have colorful leaves, if the weather is cool and dry into the fall or generally stressed, it often means more colorful leaves. If the tree is in full sun, it often also means it is more likely to produce colorful leaves. 

Calvin Finch is a retired horticulture agent in Bexar County. He writes for and works with a number of area media outlets.

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