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News >  Washington

UW welcomes back cherry blossom admirers just in time for spring’s start

UPDATED: Fri., March 18, 2022

Passersby photograph cherry blossoms at the Quad at University of Washington, as they begin to bloom.  (Greg Gilbert/Seattle Times)
Passersby photograph cherry blossoms at the Quad at University of Washington, as they begin to bloom. (Greg Gilbert/Seattle Times)
By Christine Clarridge Seattle Times

SEATTLE – After two years of asking people to admire from afar, the University of Washington is welcoming people back to campus to enjoy the famed cherry blossoms.

The 29 cherry trees in the Quad usually reach peak bloom the third week of March, said UW arborist Sara Shores, and this year they’re in sync with the official start of spring.

“Seeing the new blooms is like hope that winter will end finally,” Shores has said. And this year that’s perhaps even more true than others, as the “the trees miss their admirers,” she told KIRO radio.

In addition to the famed Quad cherries, the university has around 200 other types of cherry trees that bloom in groups around campus.

Masks are not required – they are optional and visitors are asked to respect others’ choices and personal space.

And if you don’t make it this weekend, that’s OK. You might have better luck with an outing next week.

This weekend, Seattle-area weather is going to be a bit unsettled and rainy, according to Samantha Borth, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Seattle.

But it’s going to start warming up next week, with high temperatures climbing into the upper 50s or even lower 60s on Tuesday and Wednesday, she said.

Those who can’t make it in person can still see the blossoms on UW Video’s live webcam overlooking the Quad: st.news/treecam.

The university offers tips on how to distinguish cherry trees from plum trees: Cherry trees – unlike plum trees – have distinct horizontal-line patterns on their bark called lenticels. These help the trees “exhale” carbon dioxide and water.

The Seattle Department of Transportation maintains an interactive map of trees across the city. To see if cherry trees are in your neighborhood, go to st.news/treemap, click on “explore street trees” in the navigation bar, then click on “trees by type” and look for trees in the “prunus” genus (cherry and plum trees).

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