UW News

March 15, 2023

Cherry blossoms get new visitors’ website, are on track for early April peak bloom

[Update March 21: The trees now have pink buds with some florets visible. An estimated 5% of buds on the UW Quad cherry trees are now in bloom.]

The cherry blossoms at the University of Washington campus are a seasonal tradition and celebration for the entire region. This year’s colder-than-usual spring is demanding a little more patience. Mark your calendars and plan your visit for a peak bloom expected in early April.

“The cold snap has delayed the blooms slightly, but I don’t anticipate any damage to the blossoms as a result of the cold weather,” said Sara Shores, the UW campus arborist.

As of March 15, the cherry trees in the UW Quad are mostly green buds and a few florets, where the folded-up petals are emerging. The trees will likely hit 10% bloom, meaning one in every 10 buds has erupted in pink or white blossoms, the week of March 20. Shores estimates that the trees will reach peak bloom — when 70% of the buds have emerged — in early April. This post will be updated with the latest estimates.

blossom with buds in background

A cherry blossom in the UW Quad pictured on March 21, 2023.University of Washington

Can’t wait? The Quad’s two plum trees flower a bit earlier and by mid-March have already begun to bloom.

A new visitors’ website dedicated to the UW cherry blossoms provides tips for coming to campus and for maximizing the tree-viewing experience. The site has updates on the current status of the blooms as well as details on transportation, activities, amenities, nearby food options and even new cherry-themed merchandise.

Those who prefer to avoid crowds may want to visit the Quad on weekdays and in the early mornings. Others may appreciate being around fellow cherry-blossom aficionados, especially after the quieter years of 2020 and 2021 due to pandemic restrictions.

The main species of cherry tree on the UW campus is Yoshino, including the 29 iconic trees in the Quad. Other varieties include the Higan, Hisakura, Kwanzan, Mt. Fuji and Shirofugen trees that can be viewed at locations across campus.

A UW research group has been monitoring campus blossoms from January to April since 2018 with the goal of creating a model that will use weather data to predict the timing of peak bloom. Autumn Maust, a UW doctoral student in environmental and forest sciences, currently leads the 14 undergraduates on the monitoring team.

“I personally enjoy strolling through the Quad during peak bloom in the evening,” Maust said. “There is typically less foot traffic, and seeing the trees lit up at night is very peaceful.”

How long blossoms will remain on the trees this year depends on the weather. Cooler temperatures, less rain and lighter winds all will help keep blossoms on the trees. The university asks that visitors not climb the trees or shake their branches, as this can cause damage.

Visitors are encouraged to share their photos by using the #uwcherryblossom hashtag.


For media questions about the cherry trees, contact Hannah Hickey at hickeyh@uw.edu. Broadcast media: B-roll of the 2022 cherry blossoms is available for download. High-res photos are also available.