Mar 2nd, 2019

By lisa

It might be hard to believe right now but spring is coming. Soon (?). Eventually. Fruit trees will keep us very busy later in the season with netting, watering, and of course harvesting the fruit. But before all that work resumes they are going to gift us with beautiful blossoms all over the city. So we hope you’ll take the time to walk around the neighborhood and admire the beauty of the fruit trees!
Here’s a quick guide on what to look forward to this spring, and how to identify different types of fruit blossoms (please note: these are mostly fruiting varieties, not ornamental varieties). Keep in mind that the timing and the scale of blossoms can greatly vary each year depending on the weather leading up to the flowering season. So we’ll just have to wait and see how the recent snow falls and cold temps will affect this year’s blossoms.
If you find a good spot for fruit tree blossom viewing let us know! And make sure to snap photos and share them on social media with the hashtag #SEAbloomwatch!




When                             Early March – early April. Full bloom in late March.
Color                              White to pale pink. Fruiting cherry blossoms are white. 
Petals                             Five petals per blossom with a small split at the end 
Good spots to find      UW Quad (Yoshino ornamental variety, not fruiting)

  • Most cherry blossom trees in Seattle are ornamental cherry trees of Asian origin, not the American or European cherry trees grown for their edible fruit. 
  • The ornamental trees look very different than the fruiting ones. They are smaller, branch differently, have brighter colored blossoms. Fruiting cherry trees only recently had dwarfing rootstock so if older are typically huge.
  • Most cherry flowers have 5 petals but some ornamental varieties (yaezakura) have 10, 20, or more petals.   
  • Blossoms appear to be in bunches, or tight around the branch like a poodle fur (fruiting).


When                              Early March - early April
Full bloom                       Mid to late-March
Color                               White to pale pink. Non-fruiting varieties can be darker pink.
Petals                              Round petals with no split at the tip. Some with purple leaves
Good spots to find        Meridian Playground, young trees along Burke Gilman Trail

  • Usually earliest fruit trees to bloom in Seattle.
  • Delicate blossoms spread around the tree. Not in bunches.
  • Plum blossoms have a very fragrant, sweet flowery smell.
  • The flowers bloom close to the branch with short stems.


When                             From early spring to early summer, depending on the variety
Full bloom                     Late April - late May
Color                              Most apple blossoms begin as pink buds and are pink when the flower first blooms, and they fade to

                                       nearly white as the season progresses. 
Petals                             Five petals
Good spots to find       Everywhere! Most public orchards primarily have apple trees.

  • The blossoms produce a sweet scent that helps attract bees and insects for pollination.
  • Some apple varieties can self-pollinate, but most varieties require cross-pollination from another tree of a different variety. Some varieties do not pollinate other trees.


When                             April 
Full bloom                     Mid to late April
Color                              First appear as green buds that later become white as the weather warms. Not showy. Ornamental pears

                                       and fruiting pears have similar coloration.   
Petals                             Five petals
Good spots to find       Ornamental pears are common street trees. Pear trees at Piper’s Orchard.

  • European pears bloom first and Asian pears 1-2 weeks later.
  • Pear trees tend to have lots of flowers but don’t get pollinated as easily as apples.
  • Usually appear in clusters of five to seven blossoms on spurs.


When                          Among the latest to bloom, April to May
Full bloom                  Early May
Color                           White, pale to deep pink, some yellow and orange
Petals                          Five large petals
Good spots to find    There are 2 quince trees along Burke Gilman and 3 at Amy Yee

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