Altadena Heritage Tree Giveaway Fall 2020

This giveaway is being done with the support of Southern California Edison.

In our campaign to combat the Urban Heat Island Effect and increase the urban canopy of Altadena and surroundings, Altadena Heritage is offering a free tree giveaway in Fall 2020. Our only requirement is a promise from you to plant, water, and care for the trees you recieve.

 The trees being offered are listed below. The application form will be posted on September 26. Tree applications are due October 10.  We recommend you attend Workshop #1 on September 26, as Dr. Turney will be describing many trees on the list.

2020 Tree Workshops

September 26, 10 am – 12 pm

Right Tree, Right Place – Tree Selection and Siting

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

October 24, 10 am – 12 pm  

Pruning and Tree Care

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

November 7, 10 am – 12 pm  

A Tree Planting Demonstration

coming soon

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 call 818-249-3094 to request a parkway tree.

Since the availability of some tree species on the tree list is limited, we cannot guarantee everyone applying will receive every tree they ask for. Our goal is to find good homes for as many trees as possible.

Please click below to learn about the best tree to choose for your garden, and then go to our application form to put in your request.

Choose Your Tree Species

This list of trees that Altadena Heritage plans to make available 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

  • Evergreen, semi-deciduous (partially or briefly deciduous), and deciduous trees are indicated by E, S, and D, respectively.
  • 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

Bauhinia variegata  Purple Orchid Tree.  E, or sometimes D, 20-35’ x 20-25’. Moderate shade. Moderate water needs. Bright green leaves and beautiful purple-pink flowers. It is naturally multi-stemmed but can be trained into a single-trunked (standard) tree.

Callistemon viminalis  Weeping Bottlebrush.  E, 20-30’ x 15’. Moderately dense shade. Moderate water, shelter from wind. With light green leaves and bright red brushes. Requires pruning when young to develop single trunk and good branch structure.


Cassia leptophylla   Gold Medallion Tree or Brazil Pink Shower Tree. S, 20’-25’ x 30’. Moderate shading, requires a moderate amount of water and prefers fast draining soil, full sun, seeds are considered poisonous, yellow flowers in summer.


Elaeocarpus sylvestris  Japanese Blueberry Tree.  E, 25-40’ x 15-30’. Dense shade. Blooms in summer with tiny scented white flowers growing in 1.5 to 3-inch clusters followed by blue berries. Regular water, well-drained rich soil. Upright and symmetrical form.

Erythrina × sykesii  Sykes Coral Tree. D, 25-30’ tall. Moderately low shading. Spreading habit and bright red flowers in winter before dark green leaves emerge. It does not produce seeds. Regular water.

Podocarpus macrophyllus  Yew Pine. E, 20-50’ x 15-40’. Dense shading. Narrow upright form, bright green leaves, 4 inches long by ¼ inch wide. Regular water.

Searsia lancea  African Sumac. E, 20-30’ x 20-35’. Somewhat resembling olive tree. Graceful habit, pea-sized yellow or red fruit. Takes heat, good specimen or screen, can be clipped to hedge. Slow growing. Drought tolerant once established, but looks best with regular deep watering. Prune to maintain a single trunk and strong structure.

Zelkova serrata ‘City Sprite’  City Sprite Zelkova. D, 20-25’ x 15-18’.  Moderate to dense shading. Nice fall color of yellow to dark red. Fast to moderate growth. Moderate water needs. Wide variety of soils, and drought and wind tolerant. 


Medium Trees  – 25 to 40 Feet Tall

Agonis flexuosa  Peppermint Tree. E, 25-35’ x 15-30’. Moderate shading, wet to dry soil, full sun to partial shade, attractive weeping character, dark green foliage, fragrant leaf and attracts birds. Requires routine pruning during first 5 years to develop strong framework,

Arbutus ‘Marina’  Marina Madrone.  E, up to 40’ x 40’ but often smaller in So Cal. Moderately dense shading, moist to dry soil, full sun, attractive red-brown peeling bark, showy flowers and small fruit attract birds, especially hummingbirds.

Handroanthus heptaphyllus  (Tabebuia heptaphyllus)  Pink Trumpet Tree. S, 20-30’ x 15- 25’. Moderately low shading, well-drained soil, full sun, spectacular when in full bloom. Does well in lawns with good drainage.


Harpullia Arborea  Tulipwood. E, up to 35′ x 15′. Dense shading, regular water, flowers and fruit attracts birds.

Jacaranda mimosifolia  Jacaranda. S, 25-40’ x 25-40’. Moderate to moderately low shading, well drained soil and drought tolerant, full sun, showy purple flowers in spring or summer and attracts birds.

Koelreuteria bipinnata   Chinese Flame Tree. D, 20-40’ x 30-40’. Moderate shading, moist soil, full sun to partial shade. Showy yellow flowers in summer or fall.

Koelreuteria paniculata   Goldenrain Tree. D, 20-35’ x 25-40’.  Moderately low shading, broad canopy, moist to dry soil, full sun to partial shade. Showy yellow flowers in summer. Drought and smog tolerant. Prune early for strong branch structure.

Lophostemon confertus  Brisbane Box. E, 30-45’ x 20-40’. May be a larger tree in warmer areas. Moderately dense shading, moist to dry soil, drought tolerant once established, full sun to partial shade. Bark is Striking being Light Green, red brown or multicolored, exfoliating or smooth. Smog tolerant.


Pistacia chinensis  Chinese Pistache. D, Height: 25-35’ x 25–35’. Moderate to moderately dense shading, moist to dry soil, needs good drainage, drought and smog tolerant, full sun to partial shade, prolific red or mostly blue fruiting in summer or fall. With enough chill leaves turn red in fall. Drought and smog tolerant. Prune early for good structure.

Schinus molle  California Pepper, Peruvian Pepper. E, 25-50’ x 25-40’. Moderate to dense shading, moist to dry soil, drought tolerant, full sun to partial shade, has fragrant flower and fruit, and attracts bees. Old trees will become hollow.

Large Trees  – Over 40 Feet Tall

Afrocarpus falcatus  (Podocarpus gracilior).  African Fern Pine. E, 60′ x 60’. Dense shading, Regular water.


Cedrus deodara  Deodar Cedar. E, 40-60′ x 20-30′.  Dense shading, life span up to 150 years, drought tolerant once established, Fragrant bark and leaf. Moderate potential for root damage. Not for fire hazard areas.


Cinnamomum camphora  Camphor tree. E, 50-65′ x 50-60′. Dense to moderate shading, moist soil, high potential for root damage.


Tipuana tipu  Tipu Tree. D or S, 25-50′ x 25-50′. Moderately dense shading, moist to dry soil. Mature trees are drought tolerant. Showy yellow or orange flowers in summer. Prune regularly for strong structure. Young trees may be awkward-looking. Gets Tipu psillid.

Zelkova serrata ‘Village Green’ Village Green Japanese Zelkova. D,  50-60’ x 45-50’. Moderately dense shading. Vase-shaped tree. Any soil. Bronze fall color.

Tree images are from the SelecTree website

Tree Giveaway Application Form

Please fill in and return the form below to be considered for one or more trees. We encourage sharing this application with friends and family who would like to increase Altadena’s tree canopy. Those who live on low canopy streets will receive the highest priority.

Applications should be submitted between September 26 and October 10, 2020.