SEATTLE — Wondering when the best time is to go check out Seattle’s famed cherry blossoms? The answer is soon!
The University of Washington’s iconic cherry blossoms, situated in the campus’ Quad, are expected to be in peak bloom in mid-March.
According to a release from the school, the 29 trees usually reach peak bloom in the third week of March. Sara Shores, an arborist at UW, said the trees are on track to hit that timing.
Peak blossom is defined as the point when at least 70% of the blossoms have emerged. These blossoms can stay on the trees for more extended periods of time with cooler temperatures, drier weather and lighter winds.
UW isn’t the only place to get your cherry blossom fix. These trees, as well as plum trees, can be found throughout Seattle, according to the university. These are usually visible from early February until as late as May.
Keep an eye out for trees whose petals range in color from white to light rose to even dark pink. Also, cherry trees have patterns of lines running horizontally on their bark. These are called lenticels and help the tree “exhale” and release carbon dioxide and water.
Plum trees, while they can be mistaken for cherry trees, don’t have these lenticels and typically bloom earlier in the year.
The blossoms at UW usually draw large crowds to campus, and while masks are not required, UW is asking everyone to be respectful if some community members decide to wear one.
The school asks anyone who visits to not climb on the trees or shake the branches to protect the blossoms. Those who don’t want to visit the campus can check out UW’s live webcam overlooking the Quad.
Over the last two years, UW has encouraged the public to view the blossoms virtually to limit the spread of COVID-19.
If you’re looking to explore outside UW, the city’s Department of Transportation keeps a map on its website of all the trees across Seattle. Just search for trees with the “Prunus” genus, according to UW, which denotes cherry and plum trees.