Cherry Blossom Watch Update: February 27, 2022

There are some green buds starting to poke through, and the National Park Service will announce their initial peak bloom forecast on Tuesday.

Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - DATE, 2022 taken by David Coleman.

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Washington DC's cherry blossoms reached peak bloom on March 21. They are now done for the year. You can find the most updates from the 2022 bloom here.

There's not much new to report, but things will start heating up soon. The National Park Service is scheduled to announce their initial peak bloom forecast on Tuesday. And there are some early glimmers of progress on the trees, as well as some early spring flowers starting to come out in the area.

The temperatures have been see-sawing lately, with a mix of colder-than-normal throwbacks to mid-winter and warmer-than-normal glimpses of spring. We're closing out the month a few degrees above average for February.

On some of the trees, the first glimpses of the green buds are breaking through. Elsewhere in the area, it's possible to find some of the early signs of spring, such as snowdrops, crocuses, apricot/plum blossoms (next to DC World War I Memorial), and even a few early daffodils (GW Parkway).

Temperatures So Far

You can see how temperatures so far this winter are tracking in the tables and graphs below.

First, this table shows the monthly averages leading up to the peak bloom for the past decade or so. The most important columns are March and February–the temperatures in those months closest to the bloom have the heaviest influence on the timing of the blossoms opening. A very warm early March can bring the bloom forward considerably (or, conversely, a much colder early March can slow things to a crawl).

 DecemberJanuaryFebruaryMarchPeak Bloom Date
2021-22+5.9-2.9+2.6+5.0March 21
2020-21+1.7+2.6-1.2+4.2March 28
2019-20+2.4+6.4+4.8+7.3*March 20
2018-19+3.8+1.2+3.2+0.0April 1
2017-18-0.5-0.3+6.3-3.2April 5
2016-17+2.1+6.1+8.7-0.7*March 25
2015-16+11.5-1.1+0.9+6.5*March 25
2014-15+4.0-0.4-8.7-1.5April 10
2013-14+2.6-3.8-1.2-3.9April 10
2012-13+5.9+4.3-0.7-3.0April 9
2011-12+4.9+4.7+5.3+10March 20
2010-11--1.3+3.6-0.9March 29
Data sources: National Weather Service / National Park Service.
ˤ = partial month, in progress
* = up until peak bloom

And here's how we're tracking on a day-by-day basis this winter. The red line represents the historical average temperature. The blue line represents the corresponding daily averages for this winter. In other words, above the red line is warmer than normal; below the red line is below average. The data used in this graph are taken from the National Weather Service's recordings from National Airport, which you can see just across the Potomac from the Tidal Basin.

And here's a similar, yet slightly different way of looking at it. This shows more directly how far each day has departed from the historical average. The horizontal 0 line represents the historical average. Each vertical bar represents a day. A bar above the 0 line represents warmer than the historical average. A bar below the 0 line represents cooler than the historical average. As you can see, there are so far many more days above the average–and by a good margin–than there are below the average.

How It Looks at the Tidal Basin This Morning

These were all taken this morning.

Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - DATE, 2022 taken by David Coleman.
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - DATE, 2022 taken by David Coleman.
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - DATE, 2022 taken by David Coleman.
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - DATE, 2022 taken by David Coleman.
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - DATE, 2022 taken by David Coleman.
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - DATE, 2022 taken by David Coleman.
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - DATE, 2022 taken by David Coleman.
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - DATE, 2022 taken by David Coleman.
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - DATE, 2022 taken by David Coleman.
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - DATE, 2022 taken by David Coleman.
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - DATE, 2022 taken by David Coleman.
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - DATE, 2022 taken by David Coleman.
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - DATE, 2022 taken by David Coleman.
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - DATE, 2022 taken by David Coleman.
Early spring blossoms in Ash Woods next to the DC World War I Memorial. These go by a few different names, including: Japanese plum blossoms, Chinese plum blossoms, plum blossoms, and Japanese apricot blossoms.
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - DATE, 2022 taken by David Coleman.
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms - DATE, 2022 taken by David Coleman.

Want to Help Support DC's Cherry Trees?

If you'd like to help support the care and upkeep of the cherry trees around the Tidal Basin, the Trust for The National Mall has launched an Endow a Cherry Tree Campaign. Donations go to the official Cherry Tree Endowment, which will give the National Park Service additional resources to fund the care, maintenance, and possible replacement of the cherry trees. You can find more information here.

The Trust is dedicated to marshaling private support for maintaining and improving the historic National Mall area. I'm not affiliated with the Trust--just an admirer of their efforts.

4 thoughts on “Cherry Blossom Watch Update: February 27, 2022”

  1. For those of us from Florida that want to come up for the blossoms, what days am I looking for? I don’t want to miss the event, I’m assuming that it is not a one date thing.

    Reply
    • No, it’s not a one date thing. The blossoms are usually out for at least a couple of weeks. The catch is that precisely when varies year to year based mainly on the temperatures. On average, it’s around the end of March into early April. But it can vary by a couple of weeks before or after.

      On Tuesday this week, the National Park Service will be announcing their first peak bloom prediction for this year. That’s their current best estimate of when the cherry blossoms will be reaching their peak. But it’s based largely on weather forecasts a month ahead, so things can change. Once they’re at their peak, they stay out a week or two after that (again, how long depends on the weather). You can find more information on that here.

      Reply

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