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.

January Tree of the Month

Cedrus deodara – deodar cedar

The deodar cedar is a member of the Pinaceae family and is native to the Himalayas thus, its other name “Himalayan cedar”.   In the ancient language of Sanskrit, the word deodar means “tree of the Gods”.

This tree was first introduced to Europe in 1822 and to the United States in 1832.  This is a large fast growing evergreen tree, reaching a height of 40 to 80 feet with a spread of 30 to 40 feet. The tree trunk is very straight, the bark is dark gray turning scaly and deeply furrowed as the tree matures. The arching branches drooping all the way to the base of the trunk are covered with 1-2” bluish-green needles giving the tree a stately look. The crown of the tree is a pyramidal shape.

In the spring unnoticeable flowers appear followed in late summer by cones that grow upright on the branches and can take up to 3 years to mature before they open releasing winged seeds. The tree produces an aromatic oil that deters insects.  In India the deodar cedar wood is revered for its durability and is used in different carpentry and woodworking projects as well as making incense.

The deodar cedar grows easily in any type of soil with good drainage and is considered drought tolerant once established.  It performs better in full sun to partial shade with ample room to grow and tolerates both the heat and the humidity.  This tree requires very low maintenance but benefits from an occasional structural pruning every now and then to remove any dead wood or crossing branches.  Avoid excessive irrigation as this can cause root disease.

This tree makes a good landscaping specimen in a park, in ones’ garden or as a street tree.  When used as a street tree the lower branches are removed for pedestrian clearance.  Many neighborhoods tend to string thousands of colorful lights on these trees at Christmas time which draws many visitors to them. Two such neighborhoods that come to mind are “Christmas Tree Lane” in Altadena where these trees were planted in 1882 and on St. Albans Road in San Marino.

However, for me one of the most beautiful double planting of deodar cedar trees remains the one on Beaumont Avenue in Beaumont where for a mile and half you can find more than 115 of these majestic beauties gracing that Avenue.  These trees were planted in 1930 and serve as a windbreak.  Finding yourself driving through a tunnel with an overhang of drooping branches is a sight to behold.

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