Cherry Blossom Watch Update: March 24, 2015

There's noticeable progress in the cherry blossom buds, but the trees still have a way to go before flowering.

Despite the odd nice day recently, we've still mostly had lower-than-average temperatures. And that's slowing all the area's flowers down. I've come across some scattered clumps of daffodils out, but most of them haven't come out yet. With the chill in the air and the slalom courses around the potholes on the roads, spring has made a pretty unconvincing start so far.

Around the Tidal Basin, the cherry blossom buds are getting more pronounced but still have a way to go. There's noticeable progress since the last update, but it's still early in the process.

The parking lot on the eastern side of the Tidal Basin, off Maine Ave SW, is now closed for the cherry blossom festival. A few tents have been set up, but nothing is open yet except for the National Park Service concession kiosk. The paddle boats are open for business, but customers aren't exactly lining up to take them out while there's still a chill in the air.

The fountain in the World War Two Memorial is back in action, but the Reflecting Pool is still drained. I asked several NPS rangers if they knew when it would be refilled and none could give me an answer. So far as I can work out, it depends on progress on some repair work that's going on.

If you're looking for an early preview of flowers, there's a small cluster of trees starting to bloom across the street from the Tidal Basin, next to the World War One Memorial. Details are below.

In another illustration of how much it varies from year to year, on this day in 2012, the show was pretty much over already.

There haven't been any changes to the peak bloom forecasts. You can always find the latest peak bloom predictions on the forecasts page.

There is one small group of trees flowering with white and pink blossoms just back from the Tidal Basin, over next to the World War One Memorial. There are lots of different varieties of flowering cherry and fruit trees in the area, and I'm not sure what varieties these are. Perhaps some of the flower experts reading this might be able to identify them from the photos and let us know in the comments.

And before you get worried that the main event has started, these 4 or 5 trees are very much outliers. Most of the trees have quite a way to go before they start flowering.

If you want to find these for yourself, head to the MLK Memorial. Cross the street at the lights towards the DC World War One Memorial. Once on the other side of the street, they're at about 45 degrees to your right, about 50 yards in (map below).

Here's a map showing where they are:

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 December 31, 2015 1:57 pm

View Comments

  • Thank you for your updates. I am planning a visit for April 13th & 14th and hopefully hitting the peak bloom date. Do you recommend a particular area around the Tidal Basin or in East Potomac Park that has the most clusters of trees or a good vantage point for the most picturesque photos? I don't want to overlook a really pretty spot.
    Thanks :)

    • You really can't go wrong. The trees are all the way around the Tidal Basin, and it's basically circular, so you can just wander around the whole thing in a loop. Some of the oldest trees are over by the MLK and FDR Memorials, with their branches hanging out over the water (there are also a few with overhanging branches over next to the Jefferson Memorial). If you're there in the very early morning and it's clear around sunrise, the side over by the MLK and FDR Memorials catch the early sun. The opposite side gets the later afternoon sun.

  • Dear David,

    Thank you for all these wonderful images with updates. Eagerly waiting for your next update. We hope to see a lot more action by next week.
    I believe all the paddle boats are already sold out on their website. I hope we can still get one and enjoy beautiful views from the lake.

    Keep up the good work!

  • Hi,

    Planning on visiting around april 11 do you think we will have any luck for nice pictures with cherry blossom???

    • Based on current forecasts, that should be a very good time to visit to catch the cherry blossoms.

  • Thank you for the information. I've never been to DC so I'm wondering if we still can see the cherry flower by 4/17? How long do they usually last after peak time? is there any chance the peak time would be delayed until 4/17-4/18 this year?

    • It's possible, but unless the forecasts change it's going to be right at the end and most of the flowers will be on their way out. The trees typically look great for at least 2 days after the peak bloom. By 3-4 days they're starting to fall off. But it varies a little based on things like, wind, storms, rain, hot weather, etc, and not every tree is on precisely the same schedule. So if the peak bloom comes on April 14, which is the end of the current forecast window, there should be something to see on April 17, even if they're past their prime. But if they bloom earlier than that, the chances reduce.

  • I am saddened because I have planned my Vacation to early for the Cherry Blossoms. I have wanted to see them for a few years now....I finally talked my husband into going to DC...Hopefully we still have some fun doing all the stuff there is to do there...even though I will be a bit broken hearted.Good thing is...Just about everything on our to do list is FREE....loooooove it!

    • Yes, DC is certainly full of great things to do and see. And even if the cherry blossoms might not be out, many of the other early flowers and trees should start soon. Enjoy your visit!

  • I have always wanted to visit Washington DC during the Cherry Festival .I will be visiting the Nation's capitol between April 3-7th this year. Will there likely be any cherry trees in blossom then, even if it is not peak blooming time?

    • The best chances will be at the later end of your visit. While it is pretty remarkable how they all come out at roughly the same time, it's still not precisely the same time. So there's a good chance that you might catch some trees starting earlier than others.

  • Thank you so much for the update and beautiful pictures.. we're coming around 4-6th April..hope some trees are blossoming :)

  • Thank you so much for all these cool information! Besides the trees close to the MLK memorial, I was wondering what the indicator tree that you mentioned previously is looking like recently, not sure if you got a chance to check it out? Do you mind providing an address for that tree as well? My fiancé will be in town next weekend but it seems like it might be raining then, but hopefully we can still see some blooming!Thanks so much! :)

    • I went by it on my last visit, but there wasn't much to see yet and it looked much like the others. I hope to get over to it for an update later today.

  • I have some bad news. The tree at the WWI memorial is not a cherry tree. Bummer. We were at the indicator tree yesterday and it's in stage 2 (Peduncle Elongation). It's supposed to be 72 degrees F tomorrow and so hopefully we'll see more action.

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