High Park Sakura Trees

(Question)

Hello Toronto Master Gardeners! The Sakura cherry trees in High Park have failed to produce any blooms this year and I am wondering why this would be. The leaves on the trees have flushed out for the most part. Were the flower buds likely killed off in the warm/cold period in December or by the warm/cold periods this spring? When flower buds are killed off, do they just fall off the trees (leaving only leaf buds)? Any info you can provide would be very helpful! Thanks very much!

(Answer)

The High Park Nature Centre web site has good information on the Sakura cherry trees and maintains a record of peak bloom times. Visitors are keen to know the best time to visit. Peak bloom occurs when 70% of the blossoms are in bloom and lasts only a week. Unfortunately, a recent update on the site indicates that there will likely not be a peak bloom at all in High Park this spring. Right now, the buds are going straight to leaf indicating that most of the flower buds failed to develop.

The issue is attributed to the unusually cold weather we experienced in April. Toronto’s climate is about as cold as the Sakura trees can tolerate. We experienced a similar lack of peak bloom in 2014 and before that in 2005. Blossom development is very temperature sensitive. You will still see some Sakura cherries around the city that are blooming because their particular site offered some protection from the low temperatures.

Click here to read more about the Sakura cherries on the High Park Nature Centre site. On a positive note, there are many other flowering trees in glorious full bloom around the city.