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.

November Tree of the Month

Pistachia chinensis, Chinese pistache
Family: Anacardiaceae
Origin: Native to China, Taiwan and the Philippines

The Chinese pistache is a good shade tree with a rounded crown, fast growing when young and can reach a height of 40 to 50 feet tall with an equal spread. The tree is briefly deciduous. When young this tree can benefit from pruning during the winter but rarely requires any pruning when mature.

The trunk or bark is grayish-brown, smooth at first, becoming fissured as the tree matures. The leaves are alternate, pinnately compound, green at first before turning into a mix of a fiery shade of red, orange and bright yellow producing a stunning display of fall color. The leaves are aromatic when crushed.

It is related to the pistachio tree but does not produce any nuts, instead the female Pistachia chinensis produces clusters of small round vivid red fruit turning to blue and purple in the fall. The fruit can be a nuisance creating a slip hazard when they fall on the ground. The fruit attracts many bird species especially parrots who go crazy over them. If this is a concern, consider planting a fruitless grafted male variety instead. You can then enjoy the spectacular explosion of fall color whether the tree is male or female.

This tree tolerates almost any type of soil from alkaline to acidic, does better in a sunny location, is drought tolerant and can be planted in narrow parkways as a street tree, in parks, or as an accent tree in one’s garden. The tree is relatively pest free but is susceptible to verticillium wilt and root disease.

You can find this tree growing in Vina Vieja Park, in the 2800 block of East Colorado Boulevard and on Glen Avenue in Pasadena.

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