Add a glow to your garden this autumn. Here's our pick of 11 of the best UK native trees suitable for smaller spaces. They'll give you a splash of seasonal colour, from fiery foliage to bright, bold berries.

Aspen (Populus tremula)

Mature height


Also known as quaking aspen, its pretty, rounded leaves shimmer and tremble in even the most gentle of breezes. In autumn they turn from bronze to bright yellow or sometimes red. This tree often grows suckers (shoots around the base of the tree) which should be pruned off.

Common beech (Fagus sylvatica)

Mature height

20m+ (but can be grown as a hedge plant)

A magnificent tree and one of the best for autumn colour. Its wavy-edged leaves turn a crisp, coppery-bronze and hang on to the tree throughout winter until they're pushed off by the new leaf growth the following spring. It can be grown as a specimen tree but in space-strapped gardens, it's best as a hedge.

Crab apple (Malus sylvestris)

Mature height

Up to 10m

Crab apple is relatively compact, making it a fantastic native species to grow in your garden. Its yellow-green fruits appear at the end of summer and ripen into early autumn and can be used to make glowing sunset-coloured crab apple jelly. The apples often hang on the tree well into winter like nature's baubles.

Dogwood (Cornus sanguinea)

Mature height

10m (but can be pruned into a compact shrub)

Bursting into colour in the cooler months, dogwood produces brilliantly bright foliage in autumn and spectacular red stems in winter. Wildlife loves dogwood, from moth caterpillars that feed on its leaves to birds that banquet on its berries.

Field maple (Acer campestre)

Mature height

20m (but can be grown as a hedge plant)

It's the UK's only native maple but it can hold its own against its exotic relatives when it comes to autumn colour. Its autumn leaves turn a multitude of hues from subtle coral to gleaming gold. It grows into a lovely-shaped medium-sized specimen tree, or plant it as part of a hedge.

Guelder rose (Viburnum opulus)

Mature height


Bold and beautiful, this species will brighten up your garden in autumn. Its showy clusters of bright red berries are loved by thrushes and waxwing, and its three-lobed leaves turn a rich scarlet. Grow it as a hedge or specimen shrub. 

Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna)

Mature height


A pagan symbol of fertility, hawthorn is a classic hedgerow species or is ideal as a specimen tree. In autumn, its deeply-lobed leaves turn a crimson red and its jewel-like berries gleam. It's great for wildlife, too, especially blackbirds.

Silver birch (Betula pendula)

Mature height

Up to 30m

Silver birch has so much going for it in every season, but in autumn you're rewarded by its golden-yellow foliage and white, pink or brown peeling bark. It's a quick-growing, elegant, slender species that doesn't take up too much space in the garden.

Spindle (Euonymous europaeus)

Mature height


Spindle is at its loveliest in autumn when its leaves turn russet and its pink and orange fruits ripen. Its pink-winged fruits open to reveal bright orange seeds that hang on to the tree long after the leaves have fallen. A stunning specimen tree but also works well in a hedge.

Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia)

Mature height


Rowan is an elegant tree with a mystical history. In autumn its striking pinnate leaves turn a magnificent orange or red. Its clusters of orange-red berries hang on the tree well into winter, providing a feast for mice and birds.

Wayfaring tree (Viburnum lantana)

Mature height


In autumn, the gorgeous wayfaring tree will produce groups of oval, flattened berries which start off red then turn black. Both colours can often be seen together. Its thick-textured leaves turn a rich colour in autumn. It's perfect for hedges, borders and screening.

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