DIY Tree web

The Loya children stand by their new tree.

On the former NBC sitcom "Parks and Recreation," Pawnee city employees devoted an entire day to over-the-top spending and personal pampering. The characters’ catchphrase, “treat yo self,” instantly became a part of popular culture.

In a new educational initiative called #TreeYourself, the real employees of the city of Long Beach’s Office of Sustainability gave a nod to their fictional counterparts in Pawnee. The Office of Sustainability works to provide policies and programs that advance environmental stewardship, support local sustainability practices, and create a more livable and resilient Long Beach. 

Tree Yourself is an online resource designed to help residents who would like to plant their own trees. The link provides a wealth of information to guide individuals as they make decisions and gather resources. Users can start with a tree selection quiz to determine the type of tree best suited to a particular yard or parkway. The site also offers tree permit applications, planting checklists, instruction pages, and tree care guides, complete with labeled drawings.

According to communications specialist Courtney Chatterson, residents often contact the city to ask about planting their own trees.

“We wanted to encourage and empower them,” Chatterson said. “So we tried to anticipate any questions they might have and provide links with the answers.”

The result is #TreeYourself, which launched on Wednesday, Oct. 7. Chatterson said she hopes the new resource will be a fun way for residents to participate in the city’s efforts to fight climate change and grow its urban forest. The goal is for people to plant a tree and then post a picture with the hashtag.

“Trees provide many benefits to our ecosystem,” Chatterson said. “They help retain storm water, cool the urban environment, and remove carbon and other pollutants from our atmosphere.”

“Planting trees helps build our important tree canopy in Long Beach,” said Mayor Robert Garcia. “By making it easier for residents to find the right tree for their yard, we can improve air quality, increase home values and create more shade that keeps us cooler during our hottest days.”

Trees can be planted in private yards or in parkways — the strip between the sidewalk and the street curb. Although parkway planting requires a permit, yard planting does not.

“We hope this campaign inspires residents to plant more trees,” sustainability coordinator Larry Rich said. “Trees provide so many benefits to our city when it comes to fighting climate change and its impacts like increased urban heat. Residents can make a huge impact if everyone who is able would plant one tree.”

#TreeYourself is separate from the Long Beach Tree Planting Program. This new web page does not offer free trees, but it does offer plenty of free advice for would-be planters.

“It can be overwhelming to try and figure out what will fit or do well in an area,” Chatterson said. “Our page provides the support people need to plant a tree on their own.”

To learn more about DIY tree planting, visit

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