Cherry Blossom Watch Update: March 29, 2017

They're still going strong, and with the sun finally coming out it's a gorgeous spring day at the Tidal Basin.

DC Cherry Blossoms in 2021

It seems increasingly likely that DC will still be under COVID-19 restrictions in spring 2021 while the cherry blossoms are blooming. So it's shaping up to be a good year to follow along from afar from the safety and comfort of your home.

The cherry blossoms are still going strong, and with the sun finally coming out it’s a gorgeous spring day at the Tidal Basin. The rain and breeze has knocked some of the fragile petals off, but it’s still only a relatively small number of the total.

It’s now four days after the peak bloom day, and the cherry blossoms are looking great. Many of them are turning pink, and there are the occasional green leaves coming through. But overall it bodes well for the chances of there still being something to see on the weekend as long as they make it through Friday’s rain.

How Long Do the Cherry Blossoms Hang Around?

How long the cherry blossoms stick around is about as predictable as everything else about them.

Sometimes they can be out for a week or even, in ideal conditions, even more. Sometimes they can be mostly gone a few days after the peak bloom date.

Once you get to 2 to 3 days after the peak bloom date the blossoms start to become fragile and can be easily knocked off by rain and wind.

It depends a lot on the weather. Cool, calm weather prolongs the bloom. Warm, windy, rainy weather encourages a quick exit. I’ve put together a photo timeline based on recent years that gives some idea of what to expect, when. It also shows how much variation there can be year to year.

Later this week. By Tuesday, the rain had already started to knock a large number of petals off. There are still many, many more to go, so the trees were still looking great, but it’s an indication of how fragile they are. And they’re only going to become more fragile each day. As of Wednesday, they’re still looking great.

Weekend of April 1-2. Given how they’re looking Wednesday, I have a little more confidence that there’ll be something to see on the coming weekend. Yesterday’s rain and today’s breeze did knock some petals off, but mostly they’re looking strong. They are getting more fragile each day, of course, and a thunderstorm of rain could dramatically change things.

The problem, though, is that the petals are now getting more and more fragile, and rain or wind is going to knock them off. As of right now, the weather forecast is calling for light rain all day Friday. That’s not ideal (although it is better than heavy rain).

Weekend of April 8-9. The main ones (Yoshinos) will be done, and it’s pretty unlikely that they won’t be all or nearly all leafing out by this point. But the timing could be excellent to see the Kwanzan cherry blossoms (and perhaps the tulips, another spring highlight around here). There are fewer of them, but blossom for blossom the Kwanzans are arguably even prettier than the Yoshinos. I have more information on them, including a map showing where to find some of the larger clusters, here.

Kwanzan Cherry Blossoms

The Kwanzans usually bloom two to three weeks after the more famous and numerous Yoshinos, so they’re a very good option if your visit is a little late for the main bloom.

For now, they’re very early in their blooming process, with the green buds coming through.

I posted a separate update on them a few days ago.

Cherry Blossom Watch on Instagram Feed

There’s a new Cherry Blossom Watch Instagram account: @cherryblossomwatch\<.

And while you’re at it, if you’d like to follow along with my main Instagram feed, it’s @havecamerawilltraveldc.


Maine Ave SW Parking Lot

It’s closed for the National Cherry Blossom Festival. There are currently tents, a stage, food tents, and activity areas in there for the Welcome Center.

Traffic Restrictions on Ohio Drive

The temporary traffic restrictions are now in place. Ohio Drive SW is now one-way, and the entrance to it from the Lincoln Memorial end is closed. To get to it you have to enter via Maine Ave SW and go around the Jefferson Memorial.

Photos from this Morning

Here’s how they’re looking this morning.

A classical quintet has set up to play under the cherry blossoms near the Japanese Pagoda.

A school of herring.

Fishing for crappie (yes, that’s the real name of the type of fish).

There are some green leaves coming through on some trees.

You can see some of the petals coming down in a gust of wind.

Last updated March 31, 2017

View Comments

  • Thank you very much for your day to day cherry blossom updates. I am undecided to come to witness the blooms this holiday weekend, but upon seeing the flowers' radiance, they are alluring! We have to pack up and will hit the road to DC tomorrow.

    • I'll be posting another update shortly. There will be at least some out this weekend, but it's still only a tiny proportion of the total.

  • I can not thank-you enough for doing this regular Cherry Blossom watch update. This website has been a key factor on me planning when to head to the city to photograph the Blossoms. Fantastic work and Thank-You!!