March 7, 2017
Cold weather stalls cherry blossoms; full bloom expected April 1
Watch a live stream of the cherry trees in the Quad. Credit: UW Video
Temperatures cold enough for snow in Seattle have delayed the University of Washington cherry blossoms that usually begin peeking out in late February. But don’t worry ― the trees are just enjoying a longer winter rest before the bustle of spring.
The small flowers have started bursting from their buds, and full bloom for the trees in the Quad is expected the first weekend in April, said UW arborist Sara Shores.
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.
Flowers came out earlier than usual the last two years, Shores said, but this year’s later start is still within the normal range. Last year the trees reached full bloom by March 11.
“I think it’s the cooler temperatures that are stalling them right now,” Shores said. “The buds are all there but I haven’t seen them do anything yet.”
The iconic cherry trees in the Quad are over 80 years old and in good health for their age. The trees were moved from a location near the Montlake Bridge and planted in the Quad in the 1960s when they were already at least 20 years old.
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 will also blossom a little later.
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.
“Everyone should see the trees in bloom at least once,” Shores said.
For the latest cherry tree updates, check UW Today, follow @uwcherryblossom on Twitter or visit the UW’s Facebook page. For information about visiting campus, contact the UW Visitors Center at email@example.com or 206-543-9198.