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.

May Tree of the Month

Parkinsonia florida – blue palo verde
Synonyms: Cercidium floridum

This tree belongs to the Fabaceae family and is native to southeastern California, central and southern Arizona where it is considered the official State tree and in northwestern Mexico where its name means “green stick” in Spanish.

The blue palo verde is a moderate to fast growing small to medium size deciduous tree, 20 to 30 feet tall and about 20 to 25 feet wide with a rounded canopy with arching branches. The leaves are light green, alternate and bipinnately compound.

The trunk on young trees is chartreuse green turning grayish and scaly as the trees matures, the branches are green and smooth making the tree interesting to look at throughout the year even when it is leafless and not in bloom.

In late spring and into the summer with the leaves absent, the tree produces a spectacular display of bright yellow flowers with tiny red splotches in the center of them. The flowers are lightly scented. The fruit or pods as they are called appear in the fall, are light green, very small and contain seeds in them. The pods are a good source of food for birds and the flowers are a magnet for honey bees.

This is considered a very tough tree, does better in full sun but can tolerate some partial shade, is very drought tolerant and prefers a well-drained soil. The tree is very easy to grow and care for and if needed prune lightly in the summer. This tree is a good candidate for planting under the power lines and the damage to sidewalks from its roots is very low.

Pests to look out for are wood borers, spider mites and root rot. Having said that, if you keep your tree healthy and not over water it, you don’t need to worry too much as pests seem to attack stressed trees.

This is a gorgeous tree when in bloom, can be grown as a single or multi trunk form in parks, parking lots and adds a beautiful focal point to one’s garden complementing other drought tolerant plants.

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