Cherry Blossom Watch Update: April 6, 2015

There’s been quite a bit of progress since the last update, with the warmer temperatures moving the process along nicely.

Photo of Cherry Blossoms - April 6, 2015 taken by David Coleman.
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UPDATE: The National Park Service announced this afternoon that its arborists judged that 70 percent of the cherry trees have reached “peduncle elongation” phase, going in near-record time from the “florets visible” on April 1 to “extension of florets” on April 4 to “peduncle elongation” on April 6. It's an unusually quick progression, with the only time in the past decade or so when it went even more quickly being in 2006. The historical average suggests about 6-10 days from “peduncle elongation” to peak bloom, although the recent pace suggests it probably won't be on the long end of that window.

It's still too early to guess with much confidence when the 2023 bloom will be. But we've seen a much-warmer-than-normal January, and long-range forecasts suggest above-average temperatures continuing as we get deeper into February (after a short very cold spurt at the beginning of the month).

On average, Washington DC's cherry blossoms bloom around late-March into early April, but the precise timing varies year to year depending on the local temperatures in the leadup to the bloom. You can find general information on the 2023 bloom to help plan your visit here.

There's been quite a lot of progress since the last update, and things are humming along nicely now. While most of the trees are not yet blooming, you can find some scattered blossoms if you go looking for them. The indicator tree is blooming with its white flowers. Over the next days more and more flowers will be coming out.

The Ohio Drive traffic restrictions are now in force, so there's one way traffic along West Potomac Park and the entrance near the Lincoln Memorial is blocked off (you can still exit there). And there are a lot more people around now, so finding parking spots is getting more competitive.

Spring weather doesn't get much better than this today. Lots of sunshine, very pleasant temperatures, and only a hint of breeze (for now, but picking up later). The forecast for the rest of the week is more of a mixed bag.

Cherry Blossoms - April 6, 2015

Cherry Blossoms - April 6, 2015

Cherry Blossoms - April 6, 2015

Cherry Blossoms - April 6, 2015

Cherry Blossoms - April 6, 2015

Cherry Blossoms - April 6, 2015

Cherry Blossoms - April 6, 2015

Cherry Blossoms - April 6, 2015

Cherry Blossoms - April 6, 2015

Cherry Blossoms - April 6, 2015

Cherry Blossoms - April 6, 2015

Cherry Blossoms - April 6, 2015

Cherry Blossoms - April 6, 2015

Cherry Blossoms - April 6, 2015

Cherry Blossoms - April 6, 2015

Cherry Blossoms - April 6, 2015

Cherry Blossoms - April 6, 2015

Cherry Blossoms - April 6, 2015

Cherry Blossoms - April 6, 2015

Cherry Blossoms - April 6, 2015

Cherry Blossoms - April 6, 2015

Cherry Blossoms - April 6, 2015

Cherry Blossoms - April 6, 2015

Cherry Blossoms - April 6, 2015

Cherry Blossoms - April 6, 2015

Cherry Blossoms - April 6, 2015

Cherry Blossoms - April 6, 2015

Cherry Blossoms - April 6, 2015

Cherry Blossoms - April 6, 2015

Indicator Tree

The so-called indicator tree, which typically blooms a week to ten days ahead of most of the other trees, is now blooming with white flowers. If you're looking for it in person, here's how to find it.

Cherry Blossoms - April 6, 2015

Cherry Blossoms - April 6, 2015

Cherry Blossoms - April 6, 2015

Cherry Blossoms - April 6, 2015

Cherry Blossoms - April 6, 2015

Cherry Blossoms - April 6, 2015

Cherry Blossoms - April 6, 2015

Cherry Blossoms - April 6, 2015

Tulip Magnolias

The tulip magnolias next to the George Mason Memorial are blooming.

Cherry Blossoms - April 6, 2015

Forecasts & Schedule

There haven't been any changes to the forecasts thus far. You can find the latest forecasts here.

The NPS arborists judged that 70 percent of the cherry blossoms reached their “florets visible” stage on April 1. The historical average suggests that that occurs about 16-21 days before peak bloom. In 2014, it happened on March 23 and ended up being 18 days before a peak bloom of April 10. In 2013, it came on March 17 and ended up being 23 days before a peak bloom on April 9. Based on the progress of the past few days, though, we might well see a much lower-than-average time this year between florets visible and peak bloom.

40 thoughts on “Cherry Blossom Watch Update: April 6, 2015”

  1. Thank you very much for the updates. So glad that we finally decided to drive from Florida on tuesday morning to DC unsure of the weather and how much we would see . To our surprise… the blooming cherry blossom trees greeted us.We couldn’t believe it.Absolutely gorgeous! It was all worth it!

    Reply
  2. Hi, we really want to go to see the cherry blossoms but can’t go on 4/11 and 4/12. We can only go on 4/18 and 4/19. How long do the flowers stay open until? if we get there on 4/18, are they still around?

    Reply
    • We still don’t know when exactly the peak bloom day will be, but the further you get from it the less there is to see. You can get a sense of what to expect from these photos from past years. There are also other varieties of cherry trees nearby that bloom later than the others and might be coming into bloom around then.

      Reply
  3. I just moved to Alexandria and have been doing the whole tourist thing, and I’ve got plans to visit the Tidal Basin this Saturday evening. Have greatly appreciated your blog and your gorgeous pictures. I’m looking forward to some very pretty views and a lovely evening stroll in such a beautiful area.

    Thanks for all your detailed, hard work on this! You are an invaluable source for tourists and newbies who want to enjoy this lovely natural gift.

    Reply
  4. what are your thoughts for April 15th? will the Tidal Basin be super crowded still if it is past the peak? At 10AM? are there large crowds at the Jefferson Monument? I am hoping to do a photo shot with my daughter that day with blossoms in the background and the Jefferson Monument.

    thanks!

    Reply
    • Well, crowds are relative. It’s unlikely to be as crowded as it will be this weekend, but at this time of year you can always expect people around. But there are a lot of ways you can get a nice shot even with a lot of people around, so there shouldn’t be a problem in that respect. It’s a long stretch of waterfront, so you can wander until you find a good spot.

      Reply
  5. Thank you for your regular updates! I’ve been continuously checking your site ever since I made plans to visit DC from April 9-12, specifically for the sakura peak bloom! I hope the flowers in Tidal Basin will grace us with their gorgeous presence by then! I’ll be checking everyday now that it’s only a few days away. I’m excited!

    Reply
  6. David, flew in yesterday for biz and was able to walk the basin shortly after you took your photos. As an out of towner, your work is very much appreciated. You have helped me plan and know what to look for, even though my last chance to see what I can will be tomorrow morning.
    You have been instrumental helping people like me know where to look and what I will get to see.
    Thank you for your efforts putting this site together.

    Reply
  7. David, I was just wondering with the recent warmth that we’ve been getting from mother nature. Do you think the cherry blossoms will be at or near peak on Friday, even with the chilly and damp weather were expecting?

    Reply
    • They’re certainly heading in the right direction at last. I plan to post another update in the morning that should help give a better idea of how things are shaping up for later this week and the weekend.

      Reply
  8. Hi
    I am planning to visit April 12.Do you think this is a good time to view the blossoms and will most of the flowers bloom by then?
    Thanks

    Reply
    • So far it’s looking pretty good. Stay tuned for another update in the morning to give a better idea of how they’re shaping up as we head towards the weekend.

      Reply
  9. We have a planned trip to Washington from April 22-27 do you think we will still be able to catch some of the blossoms?

    Reply
    • That’s likely to miss most of them. It’s possible there might still be the occasional straggler tree. There are, however, other varieties of cherry trees nearby that bloom a little later and will probably be coming out around then. The section on this post from last year on the Kawanzan cherry blossoms might be of interest and shows where to find them.

      Reply
  10. Thank you, David, for your awesome updates. I am just finishing my visit to DC today. It was fun to see your photos from yesterday and how they represented the gorgeous day that it was. I took pictures of the blooming tree without realizing that is the indicator tree until seeing your post. I will continue to track your site from home in Minneapolis to be able to see peak. I hope you continue to provide these updates in years to come. They are incredibly helpful for us out of towners planning visits or living vicariously. Many thanks!
    Christine

    Reply
  11. David – Your blog is an indispensable resource for DC cherry blossoms. Thanks so much for all your efforts.

    I know there is no easy answer to this but if I were to go there really early in the morning to photograph on a weekday, what would be some good parking options? Thanks again.

    Reply
    • Glad it’s useful. If you’re getting there before sunrise, along Ohio Drive next to West Potomac Park is usually a good bet and puts you right next to the side opposite the sunrise. While it is possible for it to fill up with a combination of all the other visitors with the same idea and the commuters who work in Foggy Bottom and park there, it’s generally a reliable option. At that hour you beat the tour buses–they take up huge stretches of that section later in the morning.

      Reply
    • I should add that some sections have signs warning against parking before 9am or so, mainly to stop people parking overnight. It’s up to you whether to chance it, but I’ve personally never yet run into an issue at that early hour.

      Reply
  12. Thanks for the photos and updates. Great job you’re doing here. I’m following from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Though I can’t be there, it’s still exciting to follow the updates and wait for the blooms. Most times that I miss the blooms when I’m in the US – hopefully one day I can be there. Thanks once again.

    Reply
  13. I locked in my reservations months ago to visit from California for my birthday this week. I found your site and have been following for a few weeks now and it’s been so informative . . . and encouraging! Using the helpful tips you’ve shared about everything from parking to how to find the Indicator Tree, my visit today was a huge success and I am leaving tomorrow completely satisfied! Thank you so much . . . I really appreciate how generous you’ve been with your time and effort to keep us all updated!!

    Reply
  14. Do you think the rain will affect the blossoms. The forecast between now and the rest of the week looks horrible. Will the rain knock off some of the buds? Thanks for updates, almost time for my 5 am drives in the morning down the parkway for sunrise photos.

    Reply
  15. Thanks for the update. We have 2 possible dates that we can go, 4/11-4/14 or 4/14 – 4/17, would you recommend one over the other in order to view a lot of blossoms. Thanks.

    Reply
    • That’s a tough one, and I don’t have a good answer. The NPS hasn’t changed their original forecast of April 11-14, and as you can see from today’s photos there has been a fair bit of progress in recent days. Now that the indicator tree is out, we can have some confidence that most of the other trees will follow in about a week or so. That said, they reached the “florets visible” stage over a week later than last year when the peak bloom was April 10. If you’re in a position to hold off on pulling the trigger, this week’s updates should give a better sense of how things are moving along.

      Reply
      • Update: The NPS this afternoon confirmed that progress has speeded up and that the trees are back on track for peak bloom to fall within the forecast window. So, based on what we know today, 11-14 is looking better than it was even just a few days ago.

        Reply
  16. Would you please post update photos for the next couple days? We would appreciate it very much. Based on the current condition, which day do you predict the peak bloom? We’ll be flying in DC on the 10th and hope for the peak on the weekend.

    Reply
      • Thanks so much for the recent photos, we can feel it from 1,123 miles away! My wife is so happy because we have a nonrefundable flight to DC this weekend. This is our first time in DC, and the Cherry blossom is huge to us. Your website provides novel information, we love it!

        Reply
    • While a bad storm passing directly over the Tidal Basin can do some damage and knock some blossoms off, many or most of the trees get through them fine. I wouldn’t let the chance of a storm dissuade you. Even if the forecasts of a storm pan out, they’re often localized and scattered and may not hit the Tidal Basin directly.

      Reply
  17. The Tidal Basin looked mostly like these photos as of Sunday April 5th (our final day in DC). For what it’s worth for anyone there right now, we found a short avenue of cherry trees filled with pretty pink blooms right outside the Mandarin Oriental hotel (a little off-the-beaten path but we had walked there in search of wifi after a visit to the Tidal Basin). There was also a pretty row of several cherry trees in full bloom in Union Park (a short walk from Eastern Market). It was fun spotting trees here and there in full bloom although rather disappointing that we will be missing the spectacular nature of the Tidal Basin in full bloom by just a few days!!

    Thank you again for this blog – it definitely helped me with managing my expectations. I loved the detail!

    Reply

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