Cherry Blossom Season is Here!

Stephany Colony
Azalea Way Cherries in Bloom

Most visitors experiencing the beauty of our historic Azalea Way flowering cherries from now through May probably have no idea of how intensive maintaining their health and prolonging their longevity truly is for the UW Botanic Gardens horticulture staff.   Just ask our Integrated Pest manager, Ryan Garrison. Ryan with staff support spends many a day throughout the year monitoring and controlling the numerous diseases and insect pests our 175 plus cherries are prone to suffer from. Our rainy climate doesn’t help one bit either, especially when dealing with our most notable disease during blossom time;  a fungus known as Cherry Blossom Brown Rot. Yucko!  The good news is any new cherries we plant need to show a reasonable level of resistance. The not so good news is many of our older earlier bloomers, the ones extremely susceptible to the brown rot fungus,  need to be protected with fungicide applications during their bloom period.  As with all of our pest issues, we start with cultural and mechanical control efforts before resorting to chemical controls. The following Integrated Pest management (IPM) program discusses our best management practices for the control of blossom brown rot.  If you are interested in planting cherries for your home garden, I’ve included a list of cherries recommended for our PNW climate, all have good to excellent resistance to blossom brown rot.

Cherry Blossom Brown Rot – causal fungal agent known as Monolinia fructicola. The fungus overwinters on infected twigs and dried fruit on the tree or ground.  The fungal spores are spread in the spring by wind and rain through the blossoms, causing twig dieback.  As part of the UWBG IPM program, moving toward our goal of eliminating the use of all synthetic pesticides is our ultimate goal.

IPM relies on many strategies to manage plant health care.

  • Proper ID of the pest and its life cycle
  • Regular monitoring of the plants
  • The use of physical, mechanical, cultural, and biological controls
  • Chemical controls used as a last resort*
  • Least toxic chemicals used

* All spray applications are in compliance with WSDA pesticide regulations.  Sign postings are located at all entrances and Graham Visitor Center. Spray applications are scheduled based on timing and weather. We do our best to apply when public are not present. For more information, pls contact, David Zuckerman at 206-543-8008 or

The cherries are pruned in early fall  to remove infected twigs and improve air circulation.  Tree rings are given a fresh coat of mulch in the fall to bury any infected plant material that may be on the ground.  In our Cherry Replacement program we are only using cultivars that are resistant to Blossom Brown Rot.

Cherries recommended for the PNW:

    • Prunus ‘Berry Cascade Snow’
    • Prunus ‘Kwanzan’ syn. ‘Sekiyama’
    • Prunus ‘Pink Flair®’
    • Prunus ‘Royal Burgundy’
    • Prunus ‘Shirofugen’
    • Prunus ‘Shirotae’
    • Prunus ‘Snow Goose’
    • Prunus subhirtella var. ascendens
    • Prunus x yedoensis ‘Shidare Yoshino’



10 Responses to “Cherry Blossom Season is Here!”

  1. UWBG Horticulturalist

    Quad is open to public. You will need to pay for parking on campus on Friday. Ask parking attendent best place to park for Cherry Quad access.

  2. UWBG Horticulturalist


    Cherry flowering duration is dependent on weather conditions, but typically on-average you’re looking at around 2 weeks from popcorn stage to petal fall.

  3. How long do the cherry blossoms usually last?

  4. UWBG Horticulturalist

    Hello Patti –

    The Washington Park Arboretum’s Azalea Way is mostly ADA accessible by wheelchair. If you have a disability sticker on your car, you are welcome to go through the north gate of Arboretum Drive E. Drive down to the first parking lot on your right (Woodland Garden) and park. From the parking lot, you can access Azalea Way via wheelchair by heading due west on the gravel path that connects w/ the parking lot. You will cross a small bridge on your left, then turn right and head straight out to Azalea Way. Here’s a link to our trailmap that indicates all points described above. The gravel path on Azalea Way continues all the way south to Boyer parking lot (Lookout Pond). This summer, the remainder of the north end of Azalea Way will be gravelled.

    Cheerio and enjoy your flowering cherry adventure in the arboretum!


  5. My 90 year old mother is coming to town and can’t walk down the lane. Is there a roadway that is best to drive to show her the blossoming trees? Thanks for your help. She loves flowers and is visiting from the midwest where it is still gray and brown right now.

  6. Priya Srinivasa

    Hi there,

    Thanks for the info. Need to know if the quad is open to the public during weekdays. We want to come on over on Friday (there is gonna be sunshine, yay!) morning, the 8th. Is that possible and where can we park?
    Thanks a ton. Great day!

  7. UWBG Horticulturalist

    Pls see my comment below for answer to your question. UWBG Horticulturist.

  8. gomathi komanduru


    I need help I’m visiting Seattle during April 16th weekend. Can you please let me know if UW will be the best place to see full “cherry blossom”? If so, where on campus should I go see it?

    Thank you,

  9. UWBG Horticulturalist

    Unfortunately you’ll miss the ‘Yoshino’ display on campus in the Cherry Quad. They’re peaking now and will probably be past bloom time by 4/20. Here’s a link to the UW home page. Check out the video on the famous cherries, which incidentally originated in our arboretum, but were moved over when the 520 floating bridge was built in the early 60’s.

    However, don’t despair! Come on over to the <a href=""Washington Park Arboretum when you’re in town and walk the 3/4 mile length of our famous Azalea Way. We have over 50 different kinds of the over 175 cherry trees planted on both sides of the grass promenade. There will definitely be cherries in bloom along the walk and you can take in our early azaleas too!

  10. Dr. Calvin Ryu

    Please help? Need guidance? Please email me the details. I am an old UW Grad. Coming to Seattle to visit after 23 years.

    I would like to know if UW will be the best place to see full “cherry blossoms”? If so, where on campus should I go to see it? Or, any nearby gardens with full cherry blossoms? I will be coming there from 04/20-04/22.

    Again, please guide me?

    Thank you,
    Dr. Calvin Ryu