Cherry Blossom Watch Update: February 22, 2023

It has still been trending warmer than normal, and all signs continue to point to an early bloom. Perhaps even a record-setting one.

Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms.Pin

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2024 Peak Bloom

It's still too early to know precisely when the famous cherry blossoms will bloom around the Tidal Basin in Spring 2024. By early March, we'll start getting a better sense of timing, after we see how temperatures are trending during the latter part of the winter. Warmer temperatures bring an earlier bloom; cooler temperatures push the bloom later.

It has still been trending warmer than normal, and all signs continue to point to an early bloom. Perhaps even a record-setting one.

Many of the area’s spring blooms are coming out early. Daffodils are blooming side-by-side with snowdrops and crocuses. Flowering fruit trees are increasingly coming out. The saucer magnolias are getting closer to bloom. The indicator tree is on the verge of its first blooms with puffy white blossoms ready to burst. And the cherry blossoms are showing their green buds.

Some mid-morning showers didn’t bring a lot of rain, but in combination with the overcast skies, it’s a little dreary out and not an especially picturesque day at the Tidal Basin. And the high tide overflowing the banks makes it feel like it’s rainier than it has been. But it is mostly deserted and it is certainly peaceful.

There hasn’t been an official NPS prediction publicly announced yet, but there’s increasingly the possibility that the peak bloom record might be in play. It will feel even more so after a very warm day tomorrow, with a forecast maximum hitting the low 80s. But that’s going to be a short-lived spike, and temperatures should calm down after that and be somewhat closer to normal over the next couple of weeks.

The earliest peak bloom on the books is March 15 (1990). There’s a possibility that it’s under threat this year.

Many, maybe even most, of the trees now have green buds. I’ll be surprised if the NPS makes it through the weekend without judging that 70 percent of the trees have reached the green bud stage—especially after tomorrow’s hot blast.

The indicator tree is even further ahead and has some puffy white blossoms ready to pop. You can find some photos of the indicator tree that I took this morning down below. The saucer magnolias are also getting closer to blooming. I’ve posted a separate magnolias watch update with more pictures, but I’ve included a few photos below.

How It Looks at the Tidal Basin This Morning

These were all taken this morning. I try to get a variety of views to give a representative sense of the bloom’s progress.

Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms.Pin
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms.Pin
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms.Pin
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms.Pin
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms.Pin
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms.Pin
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms.Pin
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms.Pin
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms.Pin
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms.Pin
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms.Pin
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms.Pin
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms.Pin
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms.Pin
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms.Pin
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms.Pin

Indicator Tree

These are all of the indicator tree, an outlier tree that reliably blooms ahead of the others. I have more information on it here. It’s not the prettiest tree–many of its branches have been lopped off over the years–and its flowers are quite high.

Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms.Pin
Indicator Tree
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms.Pin
Indicator Tree
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms.Pin
Indicator Tree
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms.Pin
Indicator Tree

Saucer Magnolias

These are the saucer magnolias at the George Mason Memorial, which has a nice grove of saucer magnolias around it. I’ve also posted some shots from the Enid A. Haupt Garden magnolias separately.

Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms.Pin
George Mason Memorial.
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms.Pin
George Mason Memorial.
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms.Pin
George Mason Memorial.
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