WAMU 88.5 : News

When Is Peak Season For Cherry Blossoms This Year?

Play associated audio
The iconic cherry blossoms are still weeks from emerging from their buds.
Armando Trull
The iconic cherry blossoms are still weeks from emerging from their buds.

With frigid temperatures and a winter storm coming in just a couple days, D.C. residents could be forgiven for thinking cherry blossom season is still a ways away. Don't judge a cherry tree by its bark, however, because underneath, there is a lot of germination going on. Pretty soon, the trees that have become as emblematic of Washington D.C. as the Washington Monument will erupt in a riot of pink and white blossoms.

James Perry with the National Park service offered his prediction for the peak season for cherry blossoms this year.

"Our estimate for peak bloom for the cherry blossoms this year is between March 26 and March 30," says Perry.

This marks a week difference from last year. Peak season is defined as when 70 percent of the Yoshino variety will be open.

"You see a variety of years, really depending on the local conditions — what kind of winter we've had, what kind of weather we've had," Perry says. "It historically averages out to the first week in April."

Of course, while the Yoshino trees make up about half of the cherry blossoms in the District, there are plenty of other varieties, including Kwanzan, Snow Goose, Sargent Cherry and Usuzumi Cherry. Each has its own individual bloom and peak periods.

Bloom season can last from as long as 14 days to just a few days, which officials hope will coincide with the National Cherry Blossom Festival, scheduled to begin March 20 and ends on April 14, with the parade on April 13. It usually draws more than 1 million visitors to the District every spring, so officials hope the blossoms stick around.

"It entirely depends on the climate conditions what the conditions are like when the blossoms come out," Perry says. "If we have heavy rains or strong winds, all the blossoms can be knocked off, so it all depends on conditions."

For the time being, all eyes are on the weather, and that is a big wild card for the rest of this week.

WAMU 88.5

Kate Mulgrew: "Born With Teeth" (Rebroadcast)

Kate Mulgrew, who stars as "Red" in the Netflix TV series "Orange Is The New Black", opens up in a new memoir about her complicated family and the baby she gave away for adoption as a young woman.


Swapping The Street For The Orchard, City Dwellers Take Their Pick Of Fruit

Urban foragers don't just pick their meals from the trash; many eat only the finest, freshest produce — picked from city trees. The League of Urban Canners harvests fruit from trees to make jam.

Reconsidering The Pilgrims, Piety And America's Founding Principles

Conservatives who want to emphasize America's Christian roots embrace the story of the Pilgrims and the Mayflower Compact. But some historians say their role in the country's founding is overstated.

From Takeout To Breakups: Apps Can Deliver Anything, For A Price

Convenience is at an all-time premium — and a lot of smartphone apps promise to make many of the things we do every day easier. In a time-crunch or sheer laziness, how far will the apps take us?

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.