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UW cherry trees expected to reach peak bloom in April

Cold weather delayed the blooming of the iconic cherry trees, but UW’s arborist said that they are on track to reach peak bloom at the beginning of April.

SEATTLE — The University of Washington’s cherry blossoms are preparing to bloom. 

Cold weather delayed the blooming of the university’s iconic cherry trees, but the school’s arborist said that they are on track to reach peak bloom at the beginning of April.

Peak bloom is determined by when 70% of blossoms have emerged. Currently, the blossoms are at less than 10% bloom. They are expected to reach 10% bloom March 20. The trees typically reach peak blossom the third week of March, so this year's timeline is just a few weeks later than usual. 

The 29 cherry trees line the university’s Quad and have drawn visitors from all over the region. In 2020 and 2021, the campus had fewer people visiting the blossoms due to COVID-19 restrictions. To help visitors plan trips to see the cherry trees in peak bloom, the UW has created a cherry blossoms visitors’ page.

The visitors’ page includes an interactive graphic that teaches about the anatomy of cherry trees, from roots to their petals, and how to distinguish them from plum trees.

The trees in the university's Quad are Yoshino cherry trees and have been on the campus since 1964. The trees were originally planted in 1939 at the Washington Park Arboretum but were moved due to construction.

Japan donated cherry trees to Seattle in the 1930s, but it is hard to know if any of the trees at UW are related to the ones gifted. The 29 trees in the Quad are largely the original 1939 trees, making them over 80 years old. As of March 2022, only three of the cherry trees in the quad had been replaced by newer trees.

The beloved Quad cherry trees are not the only cherry trees visitors can see around UW. The university has nearly 100 cherry trees on its campus. Not all of them are Yoshino trees either, the campus is home to a variety of types of cherry trees, including Higan, Hisakura, Kwanzan, Mt. Fuji, and Shirofugen. The different types of cherry trees change the color, size, and number of blossoms. 

To visit the trees when the Quad is less active, UW suggests visiting during a weekday, or in the morning. 

It is hard to predict how long the 29 quad trees will stay in bloom. Heavy rains and wind, plus warming temperatures, put the blossoms at risk. 


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