Cherry Blossom Watch Update: March 8, 2020

After a cooler few days, we're back into the unseasonably warm weather for the coming week. That's going to speed things along. The indicator tree…

DC's cherry blossoms reached peak bloom on March 20, 2020. They're now done for the year.

After a cooler few days, we’re back into the unseasonably warm weather for the coming week. That’s going to speed things along.

The indicator tree is starting to flower. And the saucer magnolias at the Enid A. Haupt Garden behind the Smithsonian Castle are coming into full bloom. Photos of both from this morning are below.

How it Looks at the Tidal Basin this Morning

Not all of the cherry trees are on exactly the same schedule, as you can see pretty clearly int the photos below. In taking these shots, I’m trying to do a sampling of different trees from different places around the Tidal Basin. The hope is to give a fairly representative view of what you can expect to see if you were to head down to the Tidal Basin today.

Not much to see at the Floral Library just yet.

Early Bloomers

This is a tree I typically track through the blooming process, trying to focus in on the same specific small section to be able to see the day-by-day progress.

This is a different variety and is separate from the indicator tree (on the opposite side of the Tidal Basin), but it reliably marches ahead of the other trees by several days.

It’s also a good illustration of how even just a few days can make a big difference.

March 8

March 4

March 1

Indicator Tree

The indicator tree is one on the south-eastern side of the Tidal Basin that is reliably a week or two ahead of the others. I have more information on it, including how to find it, here.

It’s starting to flower. More blossoms will come out on it in the warm days coming this week.

The indicator tree.

The indicator tree.

The indicator tree.

The indicator tree.

Saucer Magnolias

The saucer magnolias are starting to head into full bloom and will be looking wonderful as we head into the warmer days this week.

I took these photos early this morning at the Enid A. Haupt Garden.

Saucer Magnolias at the Enid A. Haupt Garden behind the Smithsonian Castle.

Saucer Magnolias at the Enid A. Haupt Garden behind the Smithsonian Castle.

Saucer Magnolias at the Enid A. Haupt Garden behind the Smithsonian Castle.

Saucer Magnolias at the Enid A. Haupt Garden behind the Smithsonian Castle.

Saucer Magnolias at the Enid A. Haupt Garden behind the Smithsonian Castle.

Saucer Magnolias at the Enid A. Haupt Garden behind the Smithsonian Castle.

Things Happening Nearby

Elsewhere Around and Near the Tidal Basin:

  • The traffic patterns around West Potomac Park are normal. And the parking lot near the paddle boats is open—it hasn’t been closed to become the Welcome Area yet.
  • The Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool is drained for repairs. It’s likely to be drained through mid-March.
  • The Jefferson Memorial is covered in scaffolding to clean the domed roof. The project isn’t expected to be finished before May.
  • The water features of the FDR Memorial are still drained and turned off. They turn them back on once the risk of freezing has receded.
  • The Washington Monument is open and back in business and scaffolding-free.

View Comments

    • The NPS? They only usually post updates when there's something changed, such as meeting another development milestone or revising the peak bloom prediction. I plan to post another update on this site tomorrow morning with some new photos showing how it's looking.

  • You have been watching this for some years now and I am someone who has waited 35 years to see this. While realizing that no one can truly predict the weather which is the controlling force on these trees, I am Desperately Seeking someone's observation that has been watching these for a while. Looking at these pictures and the forecast it seems as though the news team might be closer to being right, would you please share your bloom prediction and know that I realize that anything you say is merely speculation. The more time that I have to cover my shifts at the hospital where I work in Birmingham Alabama makes it more likely that I will get to come and see it.

    • So no pressure, right? ;) As much as I would love to be able to provide predictions, I'm generally very hesitant to do so because I don't want to add confusion and I very much don't want to be the cause of someone's disappointment when the whole point of this site is to try to help people avoid disappointment. I also don't have access to the level of weather predicting expertise that the Post and NPS do. With all that said, I'm a bit surprised how late the NPS and Post predictions are. Based on what I'm seeing on the trees and the weather forecasts I have access to (ie. just regular ones available to anyone), I would have expected something a bit earlier, perhaps in the 22-25 range. But the advanced weather forecasts also seem to suggest things cooling down right around then too--if that happens, it will slow things down somewhat and might well push it back more squarely into the NPS/Post ranges.

      I'm not sure how helpful that is, but that's my current speculation.

  • Do you monitor the Kenwood blossoms as well? I'm a native to that area and love going there as well!

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