DC’s cherry blossoms could hit peak bloom in 2 weeks

The Washington Monument is seen through cherry blossoms across the Tidal Basin in Washington. (Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press)

WASHINGTON (AP) — A mild winter could mean the earliest bloom on record for Washington’s famous cherry trees, officials announced Wednesday.

National Mall and Memorial Parks Superintendent Gay Vietzke said Wednesday that the peak bloom is expected between March 14 and March 17. The National Park Service says the earliest recorded peak bloom for the trees is March 15.

Peak bloom is defined as the day when 70 percent of the Yoshino cherry trees around the city’s Tidal Basin are blossoming. Once peak bloom is reached, the blossoms can remain on the trees from four to 10 days.

Vietzke says the bloom is “very early” but not unheard of. Records dating to 1921 show the earliest recorded peak bloom was 1990, when it came on March 15. A cold winter means the trees are dormant longer, Vietzke said, but mild weather has meant the earlier development of the buds. Already, trees in the city are flowering.

“Spring is springing. Flowering trees are starting to do their thing,” Vietzke said.

The National Park Service plans to update its website daily with the progress of the blooms. Last year’s peak bloom happened March 25. On average, however, peak bloom has come in early April. Peak bloom has come as late as April 18 in 1958.

The original approximately 3,000 cherry trees were a gift from Japan in 1912. Only a handful of the original trees remain.

Because of the early bloom, organizers of the National Cherry Blossom Festival , which is timed to coincide with the blooming, have moved the festival’s start day five days earlier. It will now be held from March 15 to April 16.

NBC4i.com provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s