Altadena Heritage Tree Giveaway Fall 2023 Was  A Great Success

This tree giveaway is supported in part by Southern California Edison.

In our ongoing campaign to combat the Urban Heat Island effect and increase the urban canopy of Altadena and surroundings, Altadena Heritage hosted the fourth annual fall Tree Giveaway. Adding trees is the easiest, least expensive, most beautiful way individuals can cool Altadena and help clean the air. In addition to these benefits to the community, trees add value to your property.

The trees we’re offering this year are all unthirsty when established. Newly planted trees must be watered regularly for three years, to become established. In the first year, that means watering once a week, deeply. Please view our three workshops on selecting, planting, and caring for trees at your home, to ensure success with your tree. The trees being offered are listed below.

The only requirement you must meet is a promise from you to plant your tree within two weeks, water, and care for it. The trees in the giveaway program are for planting in your front, back, or side yards. If you would like a tree for the parkway or County right-of-way in front of your house, please apply to Public Works.

Note that all the trees we are offering this year are 15-gallon size. You will have to pick up, transport, and plant the tree. The tree plus pot may be as tall as 10 feet.

You may have to arrange for a pickup truck or large SUV to pick up your tree.

The tree pickup date this year is Saturday November 18. Please mark your calendar and be sure you have a way to transport your tree on this date. If you know that you will not be able to pick the tree up on November 18, please notify us in advance. We may be able to accommodate you. Without prior notification, we may not be able to hold the tree for you.

Choose Your Tree Species

This list below presents a brief description of each tree.  You may read more about each tree including growth rate, sun or shade preference, and much more, by clicking on its botanical name.  The link will take you to that tree’s entry in SelecTree, a database maintained by the Urban Forest Ecosystems Institute at Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo.

Understanding the tree descriptions in this list

  • Sizes at maturity are indicated as Height x Width, for example, 20-25’ x 15’ means that, generally, the mature size of the tree will be between 20 and 25 feet tall and 15 feet wide.
  • Many factors can influence the final size of the tree, including shade, root run, and geographical location. The sizes given in SelecTree are not always accurate for Southern California. We have tried to give you sizes you can expect in this area.

Tree images in the list below are from the SelecTree website

Small Trees  – Up to 25 Feet Tall

x Chitalpa tashkentensis ‘Pink Dawn’

Pink Dawn Chitalpa.  A hybrid between Chilopsis linearis and Catalpa bignonioides. C. linearis (Desert Willow) is native to Western North America. Catalpa is native to southeastern United States. Deciduous, 25-35’ x 30’. Chitalpa generally remains below 25’ in height. Fast growing (36”/year). Makes showy flowers over a long bloom period. Requires good drainage. Susceptible to root rot. Blooms best in full sun, when it receives moderate moisture. It becomes taller in half shade. Root damage potential is low. This is a small flowering accent tree, especially useful in riparian or native garden settings, usually multitrunked or low-branching. This tree is a sterile hybrid and does not make seed capsules. Caution: this tree is not suitable as a patio tree or for a high traffic area, as it continually drops a lot of litter – dried flowers and leaves – in the summer and fall.

Medium Trees  – 25 to 40 Feet Tall

Handroanthus heptaphyllus

Pink Trumpet Tree. (Formerly known as Tabebuia heptaphyllus.)  Semi-deciduous, 20-30’ x 15- 25’. Moderately low shading, well-drained soil, medium water use when established, full sun, and 12″-24″ growth per year. Established trees can get by on infrequent deep irrigation. Spectacular when in full bloom with showy pink or purple flowers in Winter or Spring that attract hummingbirds. Does well in lawns with good drainage.

Schinus molle

California Pepper, Peruvian Pepper. Evergreen, 25-50’ x 25-40’. Gives moderate to dense shading, low water use when established, full sun to partial shade and 12″-24″ growth per year. The fragrant flower and fruit attracts bees. Wildlife use the fruit. Root damage potential is high. Old trees will become hollow.

Large Trees  – Over 40 Feet Tall

Pistacia chinensis

Chinese Pistache. Deciduous, 40’ x 25-35’. Can grow to 60’ but in cultivation, it is usually shorter. Moderate growth rate (24”/year). This is a good canopy tree that will turn color in the fall given the right conditions. Most trees turn red, a few turn yellow. The tree makes inconspicuous green fragrant flowers in the Spring, and later, red or mostly blue fruit (drupes). Fruit can be very modestly invasive, but seedlings are easily removed. Attracts birds. Resistant to oak root fungus. Susceptible to root rot. Needs good drainage. Strong branches, low root damage potential. Low water needs after becoming established.

Quercus agrifolia

Coast Live Oak. California native tree. Evergreen. Grows up to 70with a 20′-70′ spread. Partial shade to full sun. Medium water use when established. Established trees can get by on infrequent deep irrigation.  Grows ~24″ per year. With age, this tree develops a large spreading canopy which is often greater than the total height. Provides dense shading plus food and habitat for many species of mammals and birds and a variety of insects.  In Los Angeles County, trees greater than 8” in diameter at 4 ½ feet above the ground are protected by ordinance. Permits must be obtained by tree owner or neighbor to trim branches larger than 2” in diameter or to remove tree or if new construction is within 5 feet of the drip line of the tree.

Tree images are from the SelecTree website
No warranties or guarantees as to the accuracy of the data and information in this list are expressed or implied. Altadena Heritage shall not be responsible for any loss of profit, indirect, incidental, special, or consequential damages arising out of the use of the data and information provided here.

Tree Workshops

Led by tree expert and plant pathologist, Dr. Jerrold Turney

Right Tree, Right Place – Tree Selection and Siting

Pruning and
Tree Care

A Tree Planting Demonstration