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.

June Tree of the Month

Quercus agrifolia (commonly known as coast live oak)

Quercus agrifolia also commonly known as the coast live oak which belongs to the Fagaceae (Beech) family is native to the California coastal mountains and valleys and can be found in areas from Mendocino County to northern Baja California.  

This oak species is widely planted and in Pasadena it makes up for 10.08 % of the city’s tree inventory.  This is a big evergreen tree which can reach a height of up to 70 feet tall.  It has a large spread with gnarled branches and limbs with a rounded dense canopy.  The trunk is short and therefore, does not make for a good timber tree. The tree is considered very drought tolerant and can withstand both the heat and coastal conditions.  Like all other mature native California oaks, the coast live oak does not need to be watered during the summer months. Too much water can cause root fungus (Armillaria) which kills the tree.  If planted in an irrigated area, make sure to direct the water spray away from the tree trunk. 

When young, the trunk and bark of the tree are smooth and light gray becoming dark brown and thick with deep furrows as the tree matures. The leaves are oval and curved under.  It is spiny along the edges like the holly leaves, glossy dark green on the upper side and veins with tufts of hair on the underside. The acorns of the coast live oaks are narrow and pointed with a dark chestnut brown color and deep puffy caps. In the early days, these acorns provided a good source of food for Native Americans. 

The coast live oak is a very attractive specimen tree and does well in urban setting when planted in a parkway that is at least 10 feet wide giving it ample space to grow.  The tree does not tolerate severe root pruning and can cause moderate to severe sidewalk damage.  Among some of the pests and diseases to watch out for are Armillaria (root fungus), oak twig girdler, sudden oak death, the California oak worm and the Polyphagus Shot hole borer.

Here is an important fact about the oak that many of you may not know:
In 2001 the National Arbor Day Foundation conducted a poll over a 4-month period asking people all over the US which was their favorite tree.   At the end when the votes were tallied, the winner with 101,000 votes was the Oak (no particular species).   Coming in second place was the California Redwood with 81,000 votes.  Fast forward to 2004, Congress passed a historic bill which was signed on December 15th by then President George W. Bush making the oak America’s National Tree.

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