March 5, 2018 /
Jona Elwell

Ready or Not, Here Come the Cherry Blossoms.

Can you believe it has been exactly a year since the last time we were discussing the fate of the cherry blossoms?  (Literally, the photos in this article were taken on March 5, 2017).

Sadly, this year seems to be no different, with the DMV rocketing into spring at full blast in February. The revered (or dreaded) #peakbloom was announced by the National Park Service to be an astonishing more than 10 days in advance of historical dates.

There is no doubt the bloom cycle is off to a head start this year. For one, the trees went dormant in late December, when colder-than-average weather arrived. When they go dormant early, they also tend to wake up early. February’s record-setting temperatures above 80 degrees certainly helped kick start the blooms.

Last year, the cherry trees were on the verge of a record-early peak bloom in early March, before a winter storm and hard freeze halted the blooming and damaged half the blossoms. They then reached an underwhelming peak late in the month. So this year could bring quite the mixed bag.

Keep in mind that the peak bloom date is defined as the day when 70% of the Yoshino Cherry (Prunus x yedoensis) blossoms are open. So if you’re headed to town for the Cherry Blossom Festival – almost a month post peak bloom – or want to avoid the hoards of humans and cameras, there are plenty of cherry trees to go around. In fact, the first blooms were spotted earlier this week!

And always, we have plenty of resources to help you enjoy the beauty of those pink blossoms far away from the Tidal Basin. Our blossom map charts the location of flowering trees – including cherry blossoms – all around the city.