Tuesday, Jun 19, 2018

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The Sakura cherry trees, pictured here in spring of 2012, typically display blossoms for a two-week period. This year, the harsh winter affected the blossoms.

Photo courtesy of: University Communications and Marketing

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Weather affects OHIO cherry tree blossoms

The row of cherry trees that lines the Hocking River and decorates Ohio University’s Athens Campus each spring with beautiful blossoms was less vibrant this spring thanks in part to the severe winter weather the area experienced.

The Sakura trees represent OHIO’s continuing partnership with Japan’s Chubu University and were officially gifted to the University in 1979. Since that time, the cherry trees two-week blooming period has been a highly anticipated indication of spring in Athens. This year, however, the blooms were not as plentiful as in years past.

Susan Calhoun, landscape coordinator at Ohio University, says the harsh winter is largely to blame. Bitter cold temperatures, and several days of low wind chill values created tough conditions for flower buds on the cherry trees planted in the exposed, wind-swept area along the Hocking River.

“A good growing season, one with reasonable temperatures and adequate moisture, should help the trees bounce back,” Calhoun said. But for this year, the flower buds that did open will be the only bloom display for spring 2014.

The cherry trees aren’t the only victims of the inclement weather. Calhoun says several types of landscape plants on campus such as English Ivy and Holly were also damaged due to extreme conditions with possibly more landscape issues yet to present as the process of flowering and leaf emergence continues to develop this spring.