Pasadena Beautiful Foundation works with the city to plant trees in parks, in streets and around neighborhoods as well as on Arbor Day. 

Pasadena Beautiful was founded in 1960 to plant street trees
to enhance the beauty of Pasadena. One of our primary goals continues to be the selection, purchase and planting of street trees. Following the City’s Master Street Tree guidelines, a very dedicated Pasadena Beautiful volunteer, Emina Darakjy hand selects each tree for a specific site. Supervised planting and maintenance by trained professionals ensure a healthy tree canopy for our city.

The beautiful green tree canopies in Pasadena are in small part
an example of our efforts over the last 60 years making it a
special place to live, work and raise a family.

A PBF member represents the organization on the Urban Forestry Advisory Committee (UFAC) board and attends their monthly meeting to advocate for the future care and protection of our urban forest because we want to protect and preserve.

July Tree of the Month

Jacaranda mimosifolia, commonly known as Jacaranda
Family: Bignoniaceae
Origin: Brazil and Argentina

The jacaranda is a very spectacular tree when in bloom. It is fast growing with a height of 25 to 50 feet, and a spread of 50 plus feet.  It is considered a partially deciduous tree.

The leaves are light green and up to 2 feet long and each leaf is composed of dozens of ¼ inch leaflets. The leaves are delicate and fernlike.  The trunk bark is grayish brown, smooth at first turning rough as the tree matures. In late spring the jacaranda tree gets covered with clusters of fragrant rich violet/blue trumpet shaped flowers that are 2 inches long. The tree continues to bloom sporadically throughout the summer. After that brown disk-shaped seed pods appear.

There is also a white flower variety which is rare called: Jacaranda mimosifolia alba. You can find one growing at the corner of south Lake Avenue and Del Mar in Pasadena.

The Jacaranda prefers a soil with good drainage, is drought tolerant when mature, does better in a sunny area but tolerates partial shade. It requires a minimum parkway width of 5 feet. The damage to sidewalks from its roots is moderate.  The tree is susceptible to aphids and Phytophthora root disease.

In his 1988 book titled “Exceptional Trees of Los Angeles” Donald R. Hodel describes a Jacaranda tree at 1870 south Los Robles in San Marino as “The largest and most outstanding specimen in the area” with a 50 feet height and a spread of over 50 feet.

I visited this tree recently with Mr. Hodel’s book in hand and found the tree to be even more spectacular than it did in 1988. The homeowner came out and was very happy to see her tree featured in a book. She moved into the house 13 years ago and heard from her realtor that the tree is famous!

You will find the jacaranda trees gracing many neighborhoods and parks in southern California, and if your plane happens to be landing at LAX in late spring, don’t forget to look out of your window, you will be rewarded with a breathtaking view of a sea of purple flowers.

Article and photos by Emina Darakjy

Tree Request Information for Homeowners:

Typically, when the city is ready to start their planting cycle, they will leave a note to inform the homeowner that they are about to get a tree which is usually a 15-gallon tree. If you prefer a larger tree than the one provided by the city, please inform the city of your preference. The city will then contact Pasadena Beautiful about the homeowner’s request for the upgrade, and PBF will instead provide a 24 in. box size tree. 

Please note that the planting site has to be approved and the curb marked by the city after the dead tree is removed and the stump is ground prior to planting a new tree.

Alternatively, as the homeowner, if you want to pay for a larger tree, please email us at [email protected] and include your address and contact information where you can be reached. The cost is $500 and includes the tree, delivery, stakes, ties, trunk guard, slow-release fertilizer, soil amendments, mulch and labor.

Street tree requests should be directed to the 311 call center or (626) 744-3846

Any questions or inquiries regarding urban forest, please call or email:
Michael King
Email: [email protected]
Phone: (626) 744-3846