Cherry Blossom Watch Update: March 6, 2018

The buds are still doing their thing and still have a way to go before blooming. There's some unsettled weather coming up over the next week or so, but it shouldn't pose too many problems for the cherry trees.

The clouds moved in right around sunrise and the sun caught their underside just as it was rising up to the horizon. Taken with a Sony a6000 with a 16-50mm ƒ/3.5-5.6 lens at 50mm @ ISO 100 . 1/40 sec . ƒ/5.6.

Current Cherry Blossom Peak Bloom Predictions for 2018:

  • National Park Service: March 27-31
  • Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang: March 30 - April 3

You can find more information on the peak bloom forecasts page.

The buds are still doing their thing. They’re moving into the “florets visible” stage now, the second of the five development stages tracked by the NPS before actually blooming. So they still have some work to do before the flowers come out.

As usual, the indicator tree is well ahead of the others, but it also still has a way to go before flowering. If you look very closely, you can see some the outside of some white petals just starting to poke through on some of the buds. There are some photos of it taken this morning below. This time last year it and a handful of others were already bloomin.

Upcoming Weather/Snow

There’s some unsettled weather coming up in the next week to ten days, including some maybe-it-will, maybe-it-won’t forecasts for a few possible snowstorms.

After the freeze damage last year that destroyed about half of the blossoms as they were about to bloom, it’s natural to wonder if we’re in for a repeat. That’s unlikely, at least from these waves of weather over the next week or so.

There are two reasons. Firstly, at the stage the vast majority of the trees are in now and will be over the next week, the buds are quite well protected against the cold. It’s really only when they’re in the final stage before blooming that they’re vulnerable to freezing, and they’ve still got some developing to do before they get to that stage. It just so happened that last year many of them were in precisely that stage when the Arctic blast rolled in with very cold temperatures over several days. Secondly, I’ve not yet seen any forecasts suggesting extremely cold temperatures of the kind that would cause a problem even if the buds were in their vulnerable stage. So at this point I don’t see a lot of cause of concern. Given how preciously some of the oldest overhanging branches seem to be hanging on, I’d be more concerned about the weight of snow and ice on them, but that’s only a small number of the oldest trees.

We have a few more cooler days and then things will start warming up a bit. That will help speed things along with the buds.

Photos from this Morning

These were all taken this morning.

Taken with a Sony a6000 with a 16-50mm ƒ/3.5-5.6 lens at 16mm @ ISO 100 . 1/250 sec . ƒ/4.

These are some of the oldest of the trees and have trunks or thick branches arching out over the water.

Indicator Tree

The indicator tree is consistently a week to ten days or so ahead of the others. This time last year it was blooming. As of this morning, it still has a way to go.

You can find more information about the indicator tree here.

For Photographers

Renting Photo Gear

If you’re looking to rent some gear, there are some deals worth knowing about:

  • BorrowLenses has 15% off any rental. Use coupon code TAKE15OFF. Offer expires 3/12 and orders must be delivered/picked up by/on 3/19. They’re also offering 20% off a selection of popular gear (use coupon code 20FOR20 and only applies to these lenses and cameras.
  • Lens Pro to Go currently has 15% to 25% off through March (must be delivered by March 30).

For local options, Ace Photo, District Camera, and f8 Rentals also offer rental gear, although their selections are often not as extensive as the big online places. And if you’re shooting video, DC Camera’s offerings are worth a look.

Cherry Blossom Photo Tours

Walking photo tours can be a great way to learn some new photography skills with the help of experts. And photo tours for the cherry blossoms can take advantage of expert local knowledge to know where to be when to get the best light and vantage points.

If you’re looking to do a photo tour while you’re visiting, there are a few options. The best place to start is with Washington Photo Safari, but there are also some other options, which you can find on the DC photo tours page.

Most of these tours are limited to small groups, so it’s a good idea to book well in advance if you can. Of course, that also means rolling the dice in terms of when the cherry blossoms will be in bloom.

How to Get Updates on the 2018 Cherry Blossoms

There are several ways to keep up to date with Cherry Blossom Watch updates.

  • CherryBlossomWatch.com This website is Cherry Blossom Watch HQ. New updates post here first. They're also more details and include more current photos than the other options. So be sure to bookmark and check back often. If you'd like to receive instant automatic notifications directly from the website when new updates are posted, take a look at the browser notification option below.

  • Instagram. Follow the dedicated Instagram feed at @cherryblossomwatch. The posts are usually shorter and less detailed, but they include freshly taken photos and post more quickly.

  • Facebook. Follow the Cherry Blossom Watch Facebook page. This is a good way to know when new updates are posted on the website, but because of the way Facebook's newsfeed algorithm works, there's no guarantee that every update will show up in your feed.

  • Email Newsletter. To the right of the page (or bottom, if you're using a mobile device) you can find a signup form for the 2018 cherry blossom watch email newsletter. This is sent out as a digest of the latest updates every week or so when new updates have been posted.

  • Browser Notifications. On desktop web browsers you can click on the red bell icon at the bottom right of the screen to sign up for push notifications. When new updates are posted you'll get a notification automatically right in your browser. Works in Chrome, Safari, and Firefox only, for now.

  • RSS. RSS feed

Books on DC's Cherry Blossoms

If you're looking for books specifically on DC's cherry blossoms for yourself or as a gift for someone, these two are my favorites.

The Cherry Blossom Festival: Sakura Celebration
  • The Cherry Blossom Festival Sakura Celebration
  • Ann McClellan

This post was last modified on March 7, 2018, 11:44 am

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