It's still too early to guess with any confidence when DC's cherry blossoms will bloom in 2020, and no peak bloom forecasts have been issued yet. Stay tuned for the first peak bloom forecasts to be announced around the beginning of March.
We’ve been lucky with some beautiful mornings during the bloom this year. This morning is another one. Clear skies, cool, and calm. Light rain showers yesterday through the late afternoon and evening had no real effect on the blossoms, and they’re going strong and looking wonderful. There was a big turnout early this morning for sunrise–maybe the biggest turnout yet this season–but it was already starting to thin out a little by the time I left.
If you look closely at the blossoms, you can find more that are starting to turn pink in the middle and some that are starting to get pale pink streaks in the petals.
The indicator tree still has flowers on it, but it’s fading fast now. And while there’s not much to see on the Kwanzan cherry trees yet, they’re coming along.
Reader photo submissions will be opening soon. Details below.
More details and photos from this morning below.
Reader Photo Submissions
Each year for the past few years I’ve posted a selection of the wonderful photos that Cherry Blossom Watch readers have sent in. You can see the first installment from from last year here. I’m not quite ready to take submissions, but I’ll be posting the submission form sometime soon–so stay tuned and get your best shots ready!
Professional Photographers. I thought it might be fun to add a new part this year and showcase some of the work of the area’s professional photographers. If you’ve been down at the Tidal Basin anytime in the past week you will have seen them at work all the way around the Tidal Basin taking engagement, maternity, family, and graduation photos. So if you’re a local professional photographer and would like to submit a shot for consideration in the showcase, stay tuned for the submissions to open sometime in the coming days.
How It’s Looking at the Tidal Basin This Morning
Weekend of April 6-7
As part of their peak bloom announcement on Monday, the National Park Service said that “Based on the current conditions and forecast, you can expect to see the trees in blossom for the next seven to 10 days.”
Right now, the weather forecast for the coming several days is favorable for keeping the blossoms out. It should be mostly cool and calm for much of this week.
It looks like a good chance of some steady rain on Friday afternoon and some unsettled weather over the weekend, potentially with thunderstorms. That kind of weather isn’t helpful for the blossoms, and by that point they’ll be getting quite fragile. It’s impossible to say for sure what effect it will have–or even if the weather pans out as forecast, for that matter–so we’ll just have to wait and see.
Cherry Blossom 10-Miler
Sunday morning sees the running of the Cherry Blossom 10-miler is being run that morning. That will see tens of thousands of runners in the area around the Tidal Basin and National Mall.
You can still get to the Tidal Basin and the cherry blossoms remain accessible, but it does make the logistics of getting to and from more complicated. Many of the roads in the area will be closed for the morning–including for parking.
You can find more information here.
And good luck to all the runners!
First Time Visiting?
I’ve put together some information on the monuments and memorials you’ll come across as you wander around the Tidal Basin.
I’ve also put together some suggestions of you’re visiting with young kids.
And please don’t climb on the trees, break branches, or pick the flowers.
These are of one of the other trees that also reliably blooms a little ahead of the other, although not as early as the indicator tree. I’ll aim to track this tree regularly as we move through the bloom. These are the same branch, with the newest at top.
It’s moving well past its prime now and has relatively few flowers clinging on.
Kwanzan Cherry Blossoms
The Kwanzan cherry is a variety that blooms a bit later than the others. There are fewer of them, but they’re especially pretty, and they make particularly good backdrops for photos because they’re boldly pink and low to the ground. I have more information about them, including where to find them, here.
I checked in on some of them this morning. There’s not a lot to see just yet, but they’re coming along nicely.
The Tidal Basin’s parking lot by the paddle boats is now closed for the Cherry Blossom Festival Welcome Area. It will be closed through April 18.
Ohio Drive has been switched to the special one-way traffic pattern. You can still get to Ohio Drive, but you’ll have to go around the other side of the Tidal Basin, past the paddle boats, and enter by the Jefferson Memorial. According to one of the signs, the traffic pattern is due to stay in place until April 14. That seems a bit excessive, so it’s possible it might revert back to normal before then.
If you’re coming in from the Arlington side of the Potomac, be aware Memorial Bridge is undergoing major structural repairs. It is still open, but there are temporary traffic lanes that can impact traffic flow and where you can turn once you get off the bridge. So using one of the other bridges might be a better bet.
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.