According to the National Park Service, the peak bloom date for the cherry trees around Washington, DC’s Tidal Basin is defined as the day when 70% of the Yoshino Cherry (Prunus x yedoensis) blossoms are open. Peak bloom varies annually depending on weather conditions. The most likely time to reach peak bloom is between the last week of March and the first week of April. Extraordinary warm or cool temperatures have resulted in peak bloom as early as March 15 (1990) and as late as April 18 (1958). This year the start of the peak bloom is expected about March 19-22, and will continue through early April.
The Yoshino trees typically bloom for a period of several days. The length of the blooming period depends on weather conditions. Cool, calm weather can extend the length of the bloom, and a rainy, windy day can bring an abrupt end to the ephemeral blossoms. A late frost can prevent the trees from blooming at all.
Forecasting peak bloom is almost impossible more than 10 days in advance. The cherry trees’ blossom development is dependent on weather conditions, which are inherently variable. National Park Service horticulturists monitor bud development and report the status of the blossoms. The following NPS table shows bud development data for Yoshino cherry trees, the most common trees in the park.
|Year||Green Buds||Florets Visible||Extension of Florets||Peduncle Elongation||Puffy White||Peak Bloom|
|2017||Feb 24||Mar 1||Mar 6||Mar 8||TBD||TBD|
|2016||Mar 8||Mar 13||Mar 15||Mar 17||Mar 22||Mar 25|
|2015||Mar 18||Apr 1||Apr 4||Apr 6||Apr 8||Apr 10|
|2014||Mar 16||Mar 23||Mar 31||Apr 4||Apr 7||Apr 10|
|2013||Mar 11||Mar 17||Mar 26||Mar 31||Apr 4||Apr 9|
|2012||Feb 29||Mar 8||Mar 12||Mar 14||Mar 15||Mar 20|
|2011||Feb 28||Mar 9||Mar 16||Mar 19||Mar 22||Mar 29|
|2010||Mar 14||Mar 19||Mar 21||Mar 23||Mar 26||Mar 31|
|2009||Mar 3||Mar 12||Mar 18||Mar 23||Mar 27||Apr 1|
|2008||Feb 19||Mar 11||Mar 17||Mar 18||Mar 24||Mar 26|
|2007||Mar 5||Mar 20||Mar 25||Mar 27||Mar 28||Apr 1|
|2006||Feb 28||Mar 13||Mar 14||Mar 16||Mar 22||Mar 30|
|2005||Mar 7||Mar 22||Mar 31||Apr 3||Apr 4||Apr 9|
|2004||Mar 4||Mar 12||Mar 15||Mar 22||Mar 27||Mar 31|
Please note: Dates reflect when 70% of the Tidal Basin yoshino cherry tree buds have reached the designated stage. You may see individual trees reach the designated stage before or after the date recorded.