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.

April Tree of the Month

Cercis canadensis – ‘Forest Pansy’ eastern redbud

All varieties of redbuds belong to the legume family (Fabaceae).  The eastern redbud is native to the Eastern United States and is found growing in many areas across the country. This tree is not to be confused with the Cercis occidentalis commonly known as the Western Redbud and is native to California.

The Eastern Redbud is a large shrub or a small to medium size deciduous fast -growing tree reaching a height of about 25 feet to 35 feet with a short trunk and a rounded crown.

The trunk/bark is grayish-brown, smooth when young becoming fissured and scaly as the tree matures.

The leaves are simple alternate, heart-shaped with a pointed tip. The leaves are shiny green when they first come out changing to red and orange in late summer. The leaves of a cultivar called ‘Forest Pansy’ are maroon color.

In the spring, from March to May and before the leaves come out, clusters of bright mauve-pink flowers are borne on bare branches including parts of the trunk. The flowers are shaped like tiny peas, serve as good pollinators and are followed by flat paper-thin green seed pods, before they turn dark brown and split open releasing their seeds. 

The Eastern Redbud is easy to grow, requires low maintenance, prefers a well-drained soil, moderate watering, full sun to partial shade, and has no known pests or diseases.

The Eastern Redbud is very often grown as a multi trunk but can be trained to be a single trunk.  This tree is rarely planted as a street tree. Because of its spectacular  flowers it is an excellent choice as an ornamental tree in a park or in one’s garden.

There are several species within the Redbud family, the one called ‘Forest Pansy’ is the better suited one for California.

In 1937, the eastern redbud was officially designated as the state tree of Oklahoma where you can find it wildly growing on hills and valleys throughout the state.

It is also said that Native Americans enjoyed eating the flowers and buds of this tree and used its bark to make medicine to treat various ailments with.

With all the many spectacular flowering trees around us, if you are looking for that extra ‘Wow Factor’ the eastern redbud is the tree for you.

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