Cherry Blossom Watch Update: March 20, 2016

It doesn't feel much like the first day of spring, but there are more cherry blossoms popping. It's still a minority, but more and more are coming out each day despite of the cold weather.

The winter blast has been pretty tame so far. But it still doesn't feel much like the first day of spring.

The weather hasn't posed any problems for the cherry blossoms thus far. A lot more trees are starting to pop. It's still only a minority of trees that are flowering, but if you go down today you won't have any trouble at all finding beautiful flowers.

And as an added bonus, it's very quiet down at the Tidal Basin, at least this morning. Traffic was very light, parking easy, and the traffic guards on hand for the crowds haven't had much to do.

The cold weather has put the brakes on a bit, but it's not putting things in reverse. Warmer-than-normal weather rolling in midweek will have the trees jumping on the gas again. So I suspect that the sweet spot is going to be around Wednesday to Friday this week.

If that holds--and I emphasize the "if"--the better day next weekend in terms of flowers is likely to be Saturday simply because it's closer to the peak bloom. Sunday might also still provide wonderful viewing. But as you can see in this photographic timeline, a day here or there can make quite a difference in the period after peak bloom. I will of course be posting regular updates during the coming week.

Here are some new photos from this morning.

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 history National Mall area. I'm not affiliated with the Trust--just an admirer of their efforts.

Last updated March 20, 2016 9:40 am

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  • Hi. Tomorrow is supposed to be quite windy. How do you feel that will affect the bloom? As it stands, I am thinking of coming down Wed to photograph Wed afternoon and Thurs sunrise. Thank you for your updates and beautiful photos!

    • Wind can knock petals off the trees that are already blooming, but since that's still only a relatively small number of trees out of the thousands that are there, it shouldn't present much of a problem.

  • I am coming on Wednesday the 30th and will be there until April 02. Am I going to miss the whole shebang? Or will there still be some blossoms around the tidal pool?

    • It looks like the main ones will be well on their way out by then. It's possible there might be some late bloomers still around.

  • How are the cherry trees along Hains Point -East Potomac Park? Have they bloomed yet? I've heard its rather nice driving around there.

  • We will be there April 5-19 will there be any to see. I am 75 and have waited my whole life to see the blossoms. It will be ashamed to miss them. What will the weather be?

    • Unfortunately it looks like the main ones will be pretty much done by then. In the previous three years your timing would have been perfect, but this year we've had some very warm spells over the winter that have rushed them to an early bloom. But your timing might be good for the Kwanzan cherries, which bloom a couple of weeks later. There aren't as many of them, but they're very pretty. Here's some information on how to find them: https://cherryblossomwatch.com/kwanzan-cherry-blossoms/ . You'll probably also catch the tulips--there are a lot of them around the National Mall, especially up around the US Capitol Building, and they make for quite a sight themselves. Weather in April in DC can be mixed. We can see glorious, warm, sunny, beautifully clear days as well as stretches of a few days at a time of cool drizzle and rain.

  • Do you think the heavy rains forecasted for Friday, March 25 will affect the blossoms? We were planning on coming down sat night to see them Sunday morning.

    • Rain and wind can knock petals off, especially after they've reached full bloom and become more fragile. But there are so many to start with that it take a lot to be knocked off before you even really notice. So while it's not impossible for a severe storm to make a big dent in them, the effect is usually much less drastic. And it's always possible, of course, that the rain or storms don't turn up or aren't as bad as expected.

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