Altadena’s Urban Forest: Past, Present & Future

Altadena’s Heritage of Abundance includes its trees, from native California scrub oaks, sycamores and certain palms to the eucalyptus, silk, carob and fruit trees introduced later … and don’t forget our mile-long stretch of giant deodars known as Christmas Tree Lane!

How we can all help preserve and revitalize this precious asset was the subject of Altadena Heritage’s second free “Third Thursday” event of the year, held April 16 at the Altadena Community Center. Altadena’s Urban Forest program — part of AH’s ongoing Sustainability Series — featured two experts: Don Hodel, environmental horticulture advisor for the University of California Cooperative Extension, L.A. County, and Frank McDonough, botanical information consultant for the L.A. County Arboretum and Botanic Garden. 

Hodel’s presentation highlighted the beauty and benefits of trees in urban areas; drought-tolerant, sustainable, low-maintenance landscaping techniques; and how to select trees that are suitable for Altadena’s climate, along with tips for planting, irrigation, feeding and mulching.

McDonough emphasized proper pruning methods; the negative consequences of bad pruning; and solutions for trees that have been damaged by poor topping/trimming, or by area pathologies such as the polyphagous shot hole borer.

The presentations were followed by a Q&A session and the announcement of an upcoming contest to identify Altadena’s “BigTrees,” as well as the opportunity — coordinated by AH — for members and attendees to receive free tees from Southern California Edison.