It certainly feels like spring, with warm temperatures and clear skies. And it's starting to look like spring too, with the first daffodils starting to come out and the first green buds appearing on the cherry trees around the Tidal Basin.
It certainly feels like spring. It’s been pretty spectacular weather for President’s Day Weekend, and a lot of people are out and about enjoying it around the Tidal Basin and National Mall. It’s also starting to look like spring–the first daffodils are starting to come out. And it’s not just a blip–plenty more days in the 60s and 70s are expected in the coming weeks.
While the vast majority of trees haven’t yet reached the green bud stage (the first stage tracked by the National Park Service in the blooming process), the indicator tree has started showing green buds. It’s typically a week to ten days ahead of the others. With the warm weather expected over the next week, it shouldn’t be long before the others join it. If so, it would be relatively early, but not unheard-of early. The NPS judged that in 2008 (when the peak bloom was March 26) 70 percent of the trees had reached the green buds stage on February 19.
With all this warm weather we’ve had so far and are expected to have in coming weeks, odds are looking pretty good for an early bloom in mid- to late-March. Of course, it’s never a sure thing; it’s still possible for things to slow down if March turns very cold, but so far there’s not much in the forecasts to suggest that there’s much risk of that. As an example, this map from the National Weather Service is pretty telling–it maps the likelihood of above-average temperatures (orange and red) and below-average temperatures (blue) for the first week of March.
Temperatures might drop back a bit closer to normal after that, and it’ll be interesting to see if that colder pattern that’s currently out west will make it’s way across to this coast, but so far it hasn’t been making much of a dent. (Apparently the summit at Tahoe has had an impressive 36 feet of snow so far this season.) As you can see from this table, it has been consistently warmer than normal over in these parts through the winter.
|December||January||February||March||Peak Bloom Date|
The National Park Service hasn’t issued their first peak bloom forecast for the season. They typically do that in early March. As always, you can find the latest forecasts on the peak bloom forecasts page.
This tree, known as the “indicator tree,” is consistently a week to ten days ahead of the others. As you can see, the green buds are coming through. I have more on the indicator tree here.
Some of the daffodils have just started coming out. I took these this morning next to the LBJ Memorial, just across the Potomac on the GW Parkway.
The flowering trees I wrote about last week, next to the World War I Memorial, are still blooming.
Unfortunately, the trees aren’t the most photogenic in terms of being a backdrop for portraits, but if you’re looking for them, I have information on how to find them here.
In the past few winters the Reflecting Pool has been drained for one reason or another. But it hasn’t been drained this year, so if you’re hoping to get some nice reflection photos you’re in luck.
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 February 20, 2017