Right on time, Seattle's cherry blossoms are about to pop with color
Seattle is days away from one of its annual gateways to spring: the cherry blossom bloom.
"I think the major bloom is going to be the weekend of (March) 25th," says University of Washington urban forest specialist Sara Shores.
The Yoshino Cherry, or Japanese Flowering Cherry, turns Seattle's tree line into a burst of pale and bright pinks each spring.
Shores says the trees are right on track, despite a year with punishing summer heat waves, drenching fall rain, and some hard freezes. That's especially good news for the stands at UW and around the city.
"The trees are doing great," Shores says. "They're in their 80s now and they're showing no signs of slowing down. They're being cared for very well by our gardeners, and yeah, they just keep doing their thing."
The Japanese Flowering Cherry is susceptible to the impacts of climate change.
They're hardy and can withstand heat and cold, but rely on the ability of birds and insects to withstand the changing climate. They produce a small fruit that birds pick off each spring.
Shores says this month's weather will impact how long the bloom lasts.
"Especially after they start to bloom if it gets really cool they're going to stick around a lot longer, or if it gets really warm they'll bloom a lot faster and your window of being able to see them in a full bloom will be a lot less."
And for the first time since the pandemic, people are invited to see them in person at the University of Washington, which holds a stand of cherry blossoms planted more than 80 years ago.
Their one ask: please don't climb or pull on the old trees.
Snap a photo and carry on.