Ohio University

OHIO's renowned cherry blossom trees

Published: April 6, 2020 Author: Authors George E. Mauzy Jr. and Alaina Bartel, Photos by Eli Burris and Ben Siegel

Ohio University is one of the best places in the United States to see cherry blossom trees (at least, according to National Geographic). Over the years, the flowering of OHIO's iconic cherry trees has become a symbol of the arrival of spring in Athens. 

Despite an ongoing global pandemic, this year is no different. We wanted to make sure our students, faculty and staff who are currently away from campus have an opportunity to see the marvelous trees, which were a gift from the University's partner, Chubu University in Japan. 

In 1979, Chubu University gifted 175 trees — the amount corresponding to the number of years the University had been in existence — to represent its partnership with OHIO. Later in 2004, Chubu University gifted even more cherry blossoms to the University to celebrate its bicentennial. However, in 2014, many of the trees were damaged by a polar vortex, causing many of them to be removed. New trees were planted but have yet to reach maturity. 

"I plant an average of five to seven new cherry trees each year with the goal of keeping uneven ages in the stand, so that hopefully we never lose too many in one location due to old age," said Susan Calhoun, OHIO's landscape coordinator.

Each spring, OHIO lights up the area around the cherry trees near the Hocking River and the Convocation Center in the evening hours when the trees begin to blossom. This year, the lighting took place on Friday, March 27. 

For the past four years, the LED lights have been powered by an environmentally friendly electric panel instead of an old, noisy diesel generator, that had to be filled up with fuel regularly and turned on and off. The current lighting system is on a timer that turns the lights on and off and draws power from OHIO’s Bob Wren Baseball Stadium.

In past years, the Japanese Student Association hosted a Sakura Festival in conjunction with the blooming of the trees. The annual festival allowed the students to showcase the trees along with their Japanese culture. The ceremony also signaled the Japanese New Year, which begins in April.

For additional information on the cherry trees, please visit www.ohio.edu/cherryblossoms. 

A blossoming cherry tree moving in the breeze

A flowering cherry blossom tree moving in the breeze.

A view of a flowering cherry blossom through the truck of another tree

 A cherry tree viewed through two trees.

Lighted cherry blossom trees along the Athens campus bike path

Lighted cherry blossom trees along the Athens Campus bike path.

A view of the moon through cherry blossom flowers

 A view of the moon through cherry blossom flowers.

A setting sun as a backdrop for flowering cherry blossom trees

A setting sun as a backdrop for flowering cherry blossom trees.

A flowering cherry blossom tree

A flowering cherry blossom tree.

The Convocation Center at Ohio University as viewed through flowering cherry blossoms

The Convocation Center at Ohio University as viewed through flowering cherry blossoms.

Close-up photo of a flowering cherry blossom tree limb

Close-up photo of a flowering cherry blossom tree limb.

Out of focus cyclists going past a flowering cherry blossom tree

Out of focus cyclists going past a flowering cherry blossom tree.

 

A flowering cherry blossom tree behind Peden Stadium

A flowering cherry blossom tree behind Peden Stadium.