Pasadena’s Urban Forest Grows by 30 Trees in a Single Day

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Article and Photography by RACHEL YOUNG

5:54 am | November 17, 2013

Bank of America volunteers joined American Forests, Pasadena Beautiful Foundation and the City itself to plant 30 trees in west Pasadena. The Saturday event kicked off a series of several events geared toward boosting the air quality and growing Pasadena’s urban forest.

The event also marked the completion of a multi-month assessment of Pasadena’s street trees determining that the 58,267 trees provide an equivalent of $8.8 million in cumulative benefits each year to Pasadena residents.

“Studies show that kids and adults with access to green spaces helps lower incidents of obesity, reduces domestic violence in urban areas and things you would never associate with trees,” Scott Steen, CEO and President of American Forests said. “Trees are beautiful. They have all these practical benefits but also make the places we live so much more livable.”

Steen listed several benefits a tree provides to the community. A mature deciduous tree will produce enough oxygen for two adults per year. One tree will remove over 10,000 airborne pollutants from the atmosphere every year. Trees absorb Greenhouse gases, save energy, and save money. Trees can reduce asthma, reduce air-conditioning costs and raise property value by 12 percent or more. Trees absorb large amounts of storm water, which reduces the need for engineered storm water controls.

Pasadena was chosen as one of five U.S. cities to benefit from a grant by American Forests to reinforce the Urban Forest efforts the city already does each year. Pasadena Beautiful Foundation partners with the city to continually expand the tree canopy and will be instrumental in the tree-planting portion of the project.

“One of the reasons were so excited about cities like Pasadena, Pasadena clearly understands the importance of trees in their communities. They understand the importance of urban forest. The citizens are excited about it and the city is willing to invest in it,” Steen said.

The study, commissioned by American Forests, analyzed the tress of Pasadena to quantify the economic and health benefits, particularly in facing the challenge of smog and pollution to air quality. The results will help inform the future development plans for the city.

The study revealed that of the $8.8 million cumulative benefits the street trees of Pasadena provide annually, $1.36 million of that is in air quality benefits and $6.94 million is in local commerce and property value increases. The study included street trees only, not yard trees on private property.

“It’s really our ongoing efforts, not just today. We plant about 1500 trees in Pasadena every year. Our efforts to continue to maintain and grow the size of our urban forest allows Pasadena to receive the benefits that all the tress offer,” Parks and Recreation director Charles Peretz said.

The event kicked off the second stage of the three-stage year-long project for Pasadena. The first stage was the assessment, restoration of trees has now begun and the final stage will be education and outreach.

The Bank of America volunteers helped plant thirty trees of seven different species. Pasadena has over 200 different species of trees in the canopy and many of the streets have a designated species that is specific to the street. More trees will be strategically planted around the city as the project engages the community to get outside to plant trees.

“All of you make sure those trees not only get planted, but get planted with the love and care the community brings to that process… I want to thank Pasadena Beautiful — Pasadena is a beautiful community because of their effort,” Pasadena City Manager Michael Beck said.

American Forests is the oldest national conservation organization in the U.S. founded in 1875. In the last two decades planted about 45 million trees and done about 1000 restoration projects all over the world. To find out more information visit