UW Today

February 26, 2016

2016 UW cherry blossom watch: 100 percent in bloom

News and Information


Warm sunshine, energetic, chirping robins and longer days are all hallmarks of spring in the Pacific Northwest. But at the University of Washington, springtime can only mean one thing — cherry blossoms.

The iconic collection of cherry trees in the Quad reached full bloom on Friday, said UW arborist Sara Shores.

The blossoms should remain in full bloom the week of March 14, just in time for study sessions on the lawn and Frisbee games before students leave for spring break.

Bloom timing varies each year and depends mostly on the amount of daylight and consistency of temperatures. If we have a stretch of days reaching over 50 degrees F, that bodes well for blooming. Alternatively, if it gets colder for a longer stretch, the blooming will stall.

Blooms came out earlier than usual again this year, Shores said, similar to the bloom timing last year.

The Quad cherry trees were moved from a location near the Montlake Bridge and planted in 1962 when they were already more than 20 years old. The trees, now over 80 years old, hopefully will make it to a century, Shores said.

“They are in great health for their age,” she said.


Cherry tree locations on the UW campus.

Aside from the iconic Quad trees, you can find other varieties of cherry trees blooming at different times around campus. Large trees near Gerberding Hall will flower several weeks after the Quad trees, and between Gerberding Hall and the Drumheller Fountain a group of young trees — given to the UW two years ago by the people of Japan — will also blossom a little later.

“You can count on the different species all following the same pattern every year,” Shores said. “Starting now in late February, we should have cherry trees in bloom all the way through April.”

Plum trees, which look similar, typically bloom before the cherries.

Visitors are asked to treat all of the trees with respect by not pulling on the blooming branches or climbing the tree limbs.

For the latest cherry tree updates, check UW Today, follow @uwcherryblossom on Twitter or visit the UW Facebook page. For information about visiting campus, contact the UW Visitors Center at uwvic@uw.edu or 206-543-9198.