2023 Peak Bloom
The NPS judged that the Yoshino cherry blossoms around the Tidal Basin reached peak bloom on March 23, 2023. They're now done for the year..
It’s a beautiful, sunny spring morning and shaping up for a lovely day. But it’s not going to last. Winter is coming back tomorrow with some potentially wild weather and plunging temperatures.
The cherry buds have been making good progress. As usual, not all the trees are exactly the same schedule, with some racing ahead of others. But the warm weather over the past week or two has helped with brisk progress.
The National Park Service has determined that they reached the Florets Visible stage on March 7. That’s the second of the five stages tracked before peak bloom.
And the saucer magnolias (aka tulip magnolias) at the Enid A. Haupt Garden behind the Smithsonian Castle are getting closer to blooming. The cooler weather over the next few days will slow things, but warmer weather after that will help bring them out. You can see some photos of them taken this morning below.
Will The Arctic Blast Threaten the Cherry Blossoms?
There are some specific stages in the development of the blossoms where they’re particularly susceptible to frost and freezing temperatures. But the buds haven’t yet reached that stage and are still well protected. So the cold temperatures and moisture from the storm are unlikely to do any harm, and we won’t see the same kind of blossom carnage from this winter storm that we saw in 2017 when about half of the blossoms were killed off. In 2017, the blossoms were much further along in the process when the freezing temperatures hit.
The strong winds might cause some physical damage to fragile branches, although the NPS arborists do a good job of pruning the most fragile branches as part of their routine care.
The magnolias might be at more risk. Their buds are further along in the process and potentially more susceptible to freezing temperatures expected early Sunday morning.
How the Tidal Basin Looks This Morning
How the Magnolias Look This Morning
These were all taken this morning at the Enid A. Haupt Garden behind the Smithsonian Castle.