Cherry Blossom Watch Update: March 9, 2023

It has been cooler, but the cherry trees at the Tidal Basin are still moving along. There continues to be a very wide spread of development stages. Some trees have barely gotten started. Others already have a few open flowers starting to appear.

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 been cooler the past few days, but the cherry trees are still moving along. There continues to be a very wide spread of development stages. Some trees have barely gotten started. Others already have a few open flowers. It suggests that we might be in store for a drawn-out bloom of the trees gradually opening rather than one of those years when they all seem to pop open overnight.

The Washington Post‘s Capital Weather Gang appear to be reconsidering their initial peak bloom prediction. On March 7, with the buds reaching the Extension of Florets stage in near record time, they said that “it’s becoming likely our initial peak bloom forecast of March 25 to 29 is too late, as predicted temperatures are no longer as cold as they once were. Once the buds reach Stage 4 – known as peduncle elongation – we’ll revise our peak bloom forecast if needed.”

The National Cherry Blossom Festival has brought up the opening date of the Festival. It was originally March 20 (through April 16). But on March 7, in light of the warmer weather and likely early bloom, the start date was revised to March 18. This mainly affects the popup Welcome Area next to the Tidal Basin.

How It Looks This Morning

It’s a clear and cool morning at the Tidal Basin. Though not as breezy as it has been the past few days, there’s still a cold breeze adding an extra chill.

You’ll notice a few shots of open flowers in the photos below. None of these photos is of the indicator tree. They’re all of other trees that are starting to show some early blossoms. For now, it’s only a tiny proportion of the trees showing any flowers, but you can find them scattered around the Tidal Basin if you’re looking for them.

Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms at the Tidal Basin on March 9, 2023.Pin
WASHINGTON, DC – Cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin on March 9, 2023, with the Jefferson Memorial in the background silhouetted against the sunrise. Photo © David Coleman / CHERRYBLOSSOMWATCH
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms at the Tidal Basin on March 9, 2023.Pin
WASHINGTON, DC – Cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin on March 9, 2023. Photo © David Coleman / CHERRYBLOSSOMWATCH
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms at the Tidal Basin on March 9, 2023.Pin
WASHINGTON, DC – Cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin on March 9, 2023, with the main statue of the MLK Memorial in the background. Photo © David Coleman / CHERRYBLOSSOMWATCH
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms at the Tidal Basin on March 9, 2023.Pin
WASHINGTON, DC – Cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin on March 9, 2023. Photo © David Coleman / CHERRYBLOSSOMWATCH
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms at the Tidal Basin on March 9, 2023.Pin
WASHINGTON, DC – Cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin on March 9, 2023. Photo © David Coleman / CHERRYBLOSSOMWATCH
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms at the Tidal Basin on March 9, 2023.Pin
WASHINGTON, DC – Cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin on March 9, 2023. Photo © David Coleman / CHERRYBLOSSOMWATCH
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms at the Tidal Basin on March 9, 2023.Pin
WASHINGTON, DC – Cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin on March 9, 2023. Photo © David Coleman / CHERRYBLOSSOMWATCH
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms at the Tidal Basin on March 9, 2023.Pin
WASHINGTON, DC – Cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin on March 9, 2023. Photo © David Coleman / CHERRYBLOSSOMWATCH
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms at the Tidal Basin on March 9, 2023.Pin
WASHINGTON, DC – Cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin on March 9, 2023. Photo © David Coleman / CHERRYBLOSSOMWATCH
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms at the Tidal Basin on March 9, 2023.Pin
WASHINGTON, DC – Cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin on March 9, 2023. Photo © David Coleman / CHERRYBLOSSOMWATCH
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms at the Tidal Basin on March 9, 2023.Pin
WASHINGTON, DC – Cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin on March 9, 2023, looking toward the MLK Memorial. Photo © David Coleman / CHERRYBLOSSOMWATCH
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms at the Tidal Basin on March 9, 2023.Pin
WASHINGTON, DC – Cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin on March 9, 2023. Photo © David Coleman / CHERRYBLOSSOMWATCH
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms at the Tidal Basin on March 9, 2023.Pin
WASHINGTON, DC – Cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin on March 9, 2023. Photo © David Coleman / CHERRYBLOSSOMWATCH
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms at the Tidal Basin on March 9, 2023.Pin
WASHINGTON, DC – Cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin on March 9, 2023. Photo © David Coleman / CHERRYBLOSSOMWATCH
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms at the Tidal Basin on March 9, 2023.Pin
WASHINGTON, DC – Cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin on March 9, 2023. Photo © David Coleman / CHERRYBLOSSOMWATCH
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms at the Tidal Basin on March 9, 2023.Pin
WASHINGTON, DC – Cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin on March 9, 2023, with the top section of the Japanese Pagoda in the foreground. Photo © David Coleman / CHERRYBLOSSOMWATCH
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms at the Tidal Basin on March 9, 2023.Pin
WASHINGTON, DC – Cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin on March 9, 2023. Photo © David Coleman / CHERRYBLOSSOMWATCH
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms at the Tidal Basin on March 9, 2023.Pin
WASHINGTON, DC – Cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin on March 9, 2023. Photo © David Coleman / CHERRYBLOSSOMWATCH
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms at the Tidal Basin on March 9, 2023.Pin
WASHINGTON, DC – Cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin on March 9, 2023. Photo © David Coleman / CHERRYBLOSSOMWATCH
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms at the Tidal Basin on March 9, 2023.Pin
WASHINGTON, DC – Cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin on March 9, 2023. Photo © David Coleman / CHERRYBLOSSOMWATCH
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms at the Tidal Basin on March 9, 2023.Pin
WASHINGTON, DC – Cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin on March 9, 2023. This stretch between the Japanese Lantern and the MLK Memorial has some of the oldest cherry trees. Photo © David Coleman / CHERRYBLOSSOMWATCH
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms at the Tidal Basin on March 9, 2023.Pin
WASHINGTON, DC – Cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin on March 9, 2023. Photo © David Coleman / CHERRYBLOSSOMWATCH
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms at the Tidal Basin on March 9, 2023.Pin
WASHINGTON, DC – Cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin on March 9, 2023. Photo © David Coleman / CHERRYBLOSSOMWATCH
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms at the Tidal Basin on March 9, 2023.Pin
WASHINGTON, DC – Cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin on March 9, 2023. Photo © David Coleman / CHERRYBLOSSOMWATCH
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms at the Tidal Basin on March 9, 2023.Pin
WASHINGTON, DC – Cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin on March 9, 2023. Photo © David Coleman / CHERRYBLOSSOMWATCH
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms at the Tidal Basin on March 9, 2023.Pin
WASHINGTON, DC – Cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin on March 9, 2023. Photo © David Coleman / CHERRYBLOSSOMWATCH
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms at the Tidal Basin on March 9, 2023.Pin
WASHINGTON, DC – Cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin on March 9, 2023. Photo © David Coleman / CHERRYBLOSSOMWATCH
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms at the Tidal Basin on March 9, 2023.Pin
WASHINGTON, DC – Cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin on March 9, 2023. Photo © David Coleman / CHERRYBLOSSOMWATCH
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms at the Tidal Basin on March 9, 2023.Pin
WASHINGTON, DC – Cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin on March 9, 2023. Photo © David Coleman / CHERRYBLOSSOMWATCH
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms at the Tidal Basin on March 9, 2023.Pin
WASHINGTON, DC – Cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin on March 9, 2023. Photo © David Coleman / CHERRYBLOSSOMWATCH
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms at the Tidal Basin on March 9, 2023.Pin
WASHINGTON, DC – Cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin on March 9, 2023. Photo © David Coleman / CHERRYBLOSSOMWATCH
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms at the Tidal Basin on March 9, 2023.Pin
WASHINGTON, DC – Cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin on March 9, 2023. Photo © David Coleman / CHERRYBLOSSOMWATCH
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms at the Tidal Basin on March 9, 2023.Pin
WASHINGTON, DC – Cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin on March 9, 2023, with the top of the Washington Monument in the background. Photo © David Coleman / CHERRYBLOSSOMWATCH
Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms at the Tidal Basin on March 9, 2023.Pin
WASHINGTON, DC – Cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin on March 9, 2023. Photo © David Coleman / CHERRYBLOSSOMWATCH

Things Worth Knowing

  • All roads and parking around the Tidal Basin are currently normal, with no closures yet for the festival.
  • The National Cherry Blossom runs from March 20 18 through April 16. (They’ve revised the opening date to March 18.)
  • The 2023 Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run & 5K Run-Walk is scheduled for the weekend of April 1-2. The Tidal Basin will still be open to pedestrian traffic, but there’ll be road closures in the surrounding area.
  • On March 18, there’ll be a Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon downtown. Most of the course isn’t near the Tidal Basin, but it does run along a section of Constitution Ave, around the Lincoln Memorial, and over Memorial Bridge. So there will be road some road closures affecting the area to factor in if you plan to drive. Here’s the course map that shows the affected areas.
  • The Jefferson Memorial is still undergoing renovations. The current phase mainly affects the lower level inside, but there’s some fencing and scaffolding at ground level outside. The main rotunda remains open. The exterior renovations to the dome are still looking great!
  • Parking lots A, B, and C mostly won’t be available for visitor parking this year. They’re being used as staging and storage areas for nearby construction on the Metro line.
  • If you’re looking for accommodation, I’ve put together some suggestions on where to stay when visiting DC’s cherry blossoms.
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