Cherry Blossom Watch Update: February 4, 2024

Welcome to the 2024 Cherry Blossom Watch! There’s not much to report on the cherry trees just yet, but there’s some other early spring color starting to come out.

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.

Welcome to the 2024 Cherry Blossom Watch!

There’s not much to report on the cherry trees for now. They’re still tightly wrapped in their buds for winter. I have some photos of how it’s looking at the Tidal Basin this morning further down the page.

But there are signs of spring starting to appear around the area. Snowdrops and forsythia are starting to come out around the place, and you can find some early plum/apricot blossoms; I have some photos below of some near the Tidal Basin that I took this morning.

Temperatures So Far

It hasn’t always felt like it, but overall, the winter so far is averaging warmer than normal. December averaged 3.8 degrees above normal, and January was 2.3 degrees above normal. And the start of February has continued that trend.

Peering ahead into longer-range forecasts, which obviously should be taken with a large grain of salt, there so far doesn’t seem to be much to threaten that trend. But we’ll just have to see how it plays out. You can keep up to date with how temperatures are tracking in the updates on the peak bloom forecasts page.

How the Tidal Basin Looks This Morning

These were all taken this morning.

Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms.Pin
TIDAL BASIN, Washington DC — Taken at the Tidal Basin on February 4, 2024. Photo © David Coleman / CHERRYBLOSSOMWATCH
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms.Pin
TIDAL BASIN, Washington DC — Taken at the Tidal Basin on February 4, 2024. Photo © David Coleman / CHERRYBLOSSOMWATCH
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms.Pin
TIDAL BASIN, Washington DC — Taken at the Tidal Basin on February 4, 2024. The 17th-century Japanese Pagoda is next to the FDR Memorial. Photo © David Coleman / CHERRYBLOSSOMWATCH
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms.Pin
TIDAL BASIN, Washington DC — Taken at the Tidal Basin on February 4, 2024. Photo © David Coleman / CHERRYBLOSSOMWATCH
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms.Pin
TIDAL BASIN, Washington DC — Taken at the Tidal Basin on February 4, 2024. Photo © David Coleman / CHERRYBLOSSOMWATCH
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms.Pin
TIDAL BASIN, Washington DC — Taken at the Tidal Basin on February 4, 2024. The Japanese Lantern. Photo © David Coleman / CHERRYBLOSSOMWATCH
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms.Pin
TIDAL BASIN, Washington DC — Taken at the Tidal Basin on February 4, 2024. Photo © David Coleman / CHERRYBLOSSOMWATCH
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms.Pin
TIDAL BASIN, Washington DC — Taken at the Tidal Basin on February 4, 2024. Photo © David Coleman / CHERRYBLOSSOMWATCH
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms.Pin
TIDAL BASIN, Washington DC — Taken at the Tidal Basin on February 4, 2024. Photo © David Coleman / CHERRYBLOSSOMWATCH
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms.Pin
TIDAL BASIN, Washington DC — Taken at the Tidal Basin on February 4, 2024. Photo © David Coleman / CHERRYBLOSSOMWATCH
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms.Pin
TIDAL BASIN, Washington DC — Taken at the Tidal Basin on February 4, 2024. This is a pretty dramatic example of why the sea walls will be rebuilt soon. In this case, there’s heavy erosion on the land side as well, creating a deep hole. Photo © David Coleman / CHERRYBLOSSOMWATCH
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms.Pin
TIDAL BASIN, Washington DC — Taken at the Tidal Basin on February 4, 2024. Photo © David Coleman / CHERRYBLOSSOMWATCH
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms.Pin
TIDAL BASIN, Washington DC — Taken at the Tidal Basin on February 4, 2024. Photo © David Coleman / CHERRYBLOSSOMWATCH
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms.Pin
TIDAL BASIN, Washington DC — Taken at the Tidal Basin on February 4, 2024. Photo © David Coleman / CHERRYBLOSSOMWATCH
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms.Pin
TIDAL BASIN, Washington DC — Taken at the Tidal Basin on February 4, 2024. Photo © David Coleman / CHERRYBLOSSOMWATCH
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms.Pin
TIDAL BASIN, Washington DC — Taken at the Tidal Basin on February 4, 2024. Photo © David Coleman / CHERRYBLOSSOMWATCH

Indicator Tree

As they do every year, the National Park Service arborists have been tending to the trees. That sometimes means lopping off branches.

It’s a bit jarring to see the results, but it’s done to keep the trees healthy. And they must be doing something right–some of these trees are many decades older than the typical life expectancy of Yoshino cherry trees.

The indicator tree is one of the more dramatic examples this year. It’s lost some large limbs, and it’s really only left with one of its major limbs. (If you’re wondering what the indicator tree is, I have an explanation here.)

Here are some photos from this morning.

Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms.Pin
TIDAL BASIN, Washington DC — Taken at the Tidal Basin on February 4, 2024. The indicator tree. Photo © David Coleman / CHERRYBLOSSOMWATCH
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms.Pin
TIDAL BASIN, Washington DC — Taken at the Tidal Basin on February 4, 2024. The indicator tree. Photo © David Coleman / CHERRYBLOSSOMWATCH
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms.Pin
TIDAL BASIN, Washington DC — Taken at the Tidal Basin on February 4, 2024. The indicator tree.

Spring Flowers Nearby

The cherry blossoms might be some time away from blooming yet, but there are other early spring flowers starting to come out. These were all taken this morning. The plum/apricot blosoms are on a few trees across the street from the Tidal Basin.

If you’re eager for an early taste of spring and want to find them, they’re between the NPS stables and the DC World War I Memorial in a stretch of the National Mall known as Ash Wood. It’s only a few trees, and they are, frankly, a little scraggly, but the flowers are beautiful up close.

Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms.Pin
NATIONAL MALL, Washington DC — Taken at the Tidal Basin on February 4, 2024. Plum blossoms in Ash Woods, across the street from the Tidal Basin. These go by a few different names, including: Japanese plum blossoms, Chinese plum blossoms, plum blossoms, and Japanese apricot blossoms. Photo © David Coleman / CHERRYBLOSSOMWATCH
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms.Pin
NATIONAL MALL, Washington DC — Taken at the Tidal Basin on February 4, 2024. Plum blossoms in Ash Woods, across the street from the Tidal Basin. Photo © David Coleman / CHERRYBLOSSOMWATCH
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms.Pin
NATIONAL MALL, Washington DC — Taken at the Tidal Basin on February 4, 2024. Plum blossoms in Ash Woods, across the street from the Tidal Basin. Photo © David Coleman / CHERRYBLOSSOMWATCH
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms.Pin
NATIONAL MALL, Washington DC — Taken at the Tidal Basin on February 4, 2024. Plum blossoms in Ash Woods, across the street from the Tidal Basin. Photo © David Coleman / CHERRYBLOSSOMWATCH
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms.Pin
NATIONAL MALL, Washington DC — Taken at the Tidal Basin on February 4, 2024. Plum blossoms in Ash Woods, across the street from the Tidal Basin. Photo © David Coleman / CHERRYBLOSSOMWATCH
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms.Pin
NATIONAL MALL, Washington DC — Taken at the Tidal Basin on February 4, 2024. Plum blossoms in Ash Woods, across the street from the Tidal Basin. Photo © David Coleman / CHERRYBLOSSOMWATCH
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms.Pin
NATIONAL MALL, Washington DC — Taken at the Tidal Basin on February 4, 2024. Plum blossoms in Ash Woods, across the street from the Tidal Basin. Photo © David Coleman / CHERRYBLOSSOMWATCH
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms.Pin
NATIONAL MALL, Washington DC — Taken at the Tidal Basin on February 4, 2024. Plum blossoms in Ash Woods, across the street from the Tidal Basin. Photo © David Coleman / CHERRYBLOSSOMWATCH
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms.Pin
NATIONAL MALL, Washington DC — Taken at the Tidal Basin on February 4, 2024. Plum blossoms in Ash Woods, across the street from the Tidal Basin. Photo © David Coleman / CHERRYBLOSSOMWATCH
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms.Pin
NATIONAL MALL, Washington DC — Taken at the Tidal Basin on February 4, 2024. Plum blossoms in Ash Woods, across the street from the Tidal Basin. Photo © David Coleman / CHERRYBLOSSOMWATCH
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms.Pin
NATIONAL MALL, Washington DC — Taken at the Tidal Basin on February 4, 2024. Plum blossoms in Ash Woods, across the street from the Tidal Basin. Photo © David Coleman / CHERRYBLOSSOMWATCH

Looking for Accommodation Suggestions?

If you’re coming into town for the cherry blossoms, I’ve put together some ideas on where to stay.

2024 National Cherry Blossom Festival

The 2024 National Cherry Blossom Festival is scheduled to run from March 20 to April 14. (Interestingly, that’s the same start date as originally planned last year before they moved that forward by a couple of days in light of 2023’s early bloom.)

Here are the announced dates for some of the key events:

  • Opening Ceremony: Saturday, March 23, 2024
  • Kite Festival: Saturday, March 30, 2024
  • PetalPalooza: Saturday, April 6, 2024
  • Parade: Saturday, April 13, 2024 (Tickets)

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