I received this question today. Thought I would pass it on to you.
I posted this question to some blog and never got any responses…
Do you know the answer?
Can anyone tell me why some Liquid Ambers have more color than
others? I have one in my front yard which I planted five years ago.
It appears very healthy, but is dissapointing when it comes to fall
color. The pair in the greenbelt behind my house are spectacular. Is
there anything I can give the tree to coax it into a better fall
show? Mark in Temecula CA
Your question is one that is heard all he time when it comes to Liquidambers. There are two basic types of Liquidambers. Ones that are grown from seed, and grafted trees. Trees grown from seed have great variation when it comes to the colors of the leaves in fall. Some turn yellow, others reds, oranges, and pinks. The only way to know for sure is to pick out the tree when it’s turning color.
Grafted trees are supposed to turn the color of the original tree. “Palo Alto”, “Festival”, and “Burgundy” are some of the popular varieties avaiable. Soil, climate, and other variations can cause a tree like Palo Alto to have only yellow leaves instead of the promised red, yellows, and pinks.
Don’t over fertilize the tree. If it’s in a lawn it can get extra fertilizer from the lawn. Maybe feed it a couple of times on the spring. tDont feed from early summer on. Sometimes it just takes years before it finally starts to change color. I have a Palo Alto in my yard that turns yellow. It’s been there for years!
Perhaps it will next fall it will be more colorful.