Things in D.C. are so overheated that the cherry blossoms are popping prematurely, forcing an earlier start to the festival

Talk about your early bloomers. The nation’s beloved cherry trees that line the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C., are predicted to pop early this year, maybe even the earliest on record. And that means the festival will be earlier as well.

Blossoms that frame the Thomas Jefferson Memorial in countless photos are expected to reach their peak between March 14 and 17, the National Park Service announced Wednesday.

It may not be the most urgent news coming out of D.C. these days, but it is for travelers who want to walk beneath a canopy of puffy white clusters.


The news (did it really come in a pink envelope?) prompted organizers of the National Cherry Blossom Festival to push back its start by five days.

The festival will begin March 15 and continue through April 2, with a showy opening ceremony March 25 and a parade April 1.

If you go, look for ranger talks and special performances throughout the festival at the Tidal Basin Welcome Area. (It’s open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, near the paddle boats in the parking lot.)

Peak bloom, by the way, is defined as a time when 70% of the Yoshino trees have blossomed.

The Bloom Watch website shows the five stages the trees go through, from green bud to blossom. It’s tricky to predict when peak will hit more than 10 days prior, the website says.

The trees were a gift from Japan and arrived in the U.S. in 1912. Two years earlier, 3,000 trees were shipped over but found to be diseased and had to be destroyed.

About 120 trees currently in the tidal basin were propagated from the original 1912 gift, the website says.

Info: Bloom Watch, National Cherry Blossom Festival


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