Cherry Blossom Watch Update: April 7, 2019

The cherry blossoms are still looking pretty, especially from a distance, but up close it's becoming easier to tell that they're past their prime. There are fewer petals on the trees, more petals on the ground, and more green leaves sprouting.

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.

The winter so far has been much warmer than normal. January and February have both tracked well above average. If that continues--and that's always a big "if"--it points to an earlier-than-average bloom, more late-March than early-April. But there's still plenty of time for cold weather to arrive and settle in, so it's still too early to predict with confidence.

The cherry blossoms are still looking pretty, especially from a distance, but up close it’s becoming easier to tell that they’re past their prime. There are fewer petals on the trees, more petals on the ground, and more green leaves sprouting. Warm temperatures over the next few days will accelerate the process as the trees leaf out.

So if you go down to the Tidal Basin today, there are still plenty of blossoms to see. Please don’t climb on the trees or pick the flowers while you’re there! Expect big crowds and gridlocked traffic. The road closures from this morning’s Cherry Blossom 10 Mile race have lifted, but there’s heavy road traffic.

Reader photo submissions are now open. I thought it might be fun to try something new this year with a dedicated category for local professional photographers. The General category is open to anyone, as usual. You can find details and the submission form below, along with more information and photos from this morning.

If anyone down at the Tidal basin yesterday took some pictures of a proposal in action, please get in contact with me. There was apparently a gentleman who did snap some pictures, and the bride-to-be would love to get in contact to see about getting copies if possible.

And congrats to all the runners in the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler and 5K this morning!

Submitting Photos

There has been an overwhelming response with several hundred photographers submitting their photos. Thank you to everyone who has already submitted photos for consideration. Submissions are now closed.

How It’s Looking at the Tidal Basin This Morning

These photos give a sense of what you can expect to see if you head down to the Tidal Basin today. All were taken this morning.

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.

Here’s some information on getting to and from the cherry blossoms, and here’s some information specifically on parking options.

I’ve also put together some suggestions of you’re visiting with young kids.


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.

Floral Library

The tulips in the Floral Library, next to the Tidal Basin, are starting to bloom.

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 April 9, 2019

View Comments

  • Took a spur of the moment trip Wednesday from Western PA. Got most of my info from your page and a few nearby local friends! What a beautiful day and so worth the travel! Submittted 2 photos from that day (out of about 400!! lol).... Great page you have, thank you!

  • I have thoroughly enjoyed the day by day aspect of your posts. It helped in the leading up of our trip, and all the way through. This was my first time seeing all of the cherry blossoms in DC. It was an amazing experience!

  • Have you seen if the tulips have peak bloomed yet at the Netherlands Carillion in Arlington?