Peak bloom dates for DC’s famed cherry blossoms announced

Peak bloom dates for DC’s famed cherry blossoms announced

The National Park Service has announced that Washington D.C.’s iconic cherry blossoms around the Tidal Basin and National Mall are expected to reach “peak bloom” between March 23 and March 26. This prediction, revealed during a news conference alongside the organizers of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, comes amidst challenges due to record-warm January temperatures and fluctuating weather patterns.

Peak bloom is defined as the moment when 70% of the blossoms on the approximately 3,700 Yoshino cherry trees in the area are open. This year’s forecasted peak bloom is about two weeks earlier than the average date of April 4. The earliest peak bloom ever recorded in D.C. was on March 15, 1990.

Predicting peak bloom involves analyzing long-term weather forecasts, historical data, and the current state of the trees. However, this year’s prediction was particularly challenging due to the warm January temperatures, which prevented the trees from entering dormancy, a crucial factor in bloom calculation. Additionally, the indicator tree used by the park service is exhibiting various bloom phases due to recent temperature fluctuations.

Although predicting peak bloom is not an exact science, warm temperatures can accelerate the process. Over the past decade, peak bloom has often occurred earlier than predicted, with last year being an exception when the park service accurately forecasted the peak bloom for March 23.

The blooming of D.C.’s cherry trees marks the arrival of spring and is celebrated with the month-long National Cherry Blossom Festival, scheduled from March 20 to April 14. The festival includes various events such as concerts, performances, a kite festival, and a parade, attracting over 1.5 million visitors to the city and serving as a significant economic driver.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and the first lady are expected to visit D.C. in April, coinciding with the festival. The cherry blossoms were originally gifted to D.C. by the mayor of Tokyo in 1912 as a symbol of friendship between Japan and the U.S.