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Washington, D.C.

Cherry blossom season is coming soon to Washington, DC: When is peak bloom?

This is your sign to book that trip to Washington, D.C., because the National Park Service is predicting that the peak bloom season for the District of Columbia's Tidal Basin cherry blossoms is just a few weeks away.

The peak bloom date, "defined as the day when 70% of the Yoshino Cherry blossoms are open," is expected to fall March 23 to March 26 this year, . About 3,800 cherry trees grow around the Tidal Basin and National Mall.

The dates are a prediction, park officials added, because peak bloom depends on weather conditions.

"The most likely time to reach peak bloom is between the last week of March and the first week of April," the park service said in a news release Thursday, explaining that "extraordinary warm or cool temperatures have resulted in peak bloom as early as March 15 (1990) and as late as April 18 (1958)".

How long is peak bloom?

The length of blooming period also depends on the weather, the park service says. Cool and calm weather can extend the length of blooming period, but a rainy, windy day can cause the ephemeral blossoms to end abruptly. A late frost can prevent the trees from blooming altogether.

Climate change:If April showers bring May flowers, why are blooms appearing so early?

An aerial view of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial at the Tidal Basin is seen during high tide amid cherry blossoms in peak bloom on March 25, 2023 in Washington, D.C.

Where are the best views of the cherry blossoms?

Though cherry blossoms are scattered throughout the capital, the highest concentration of the trees is in Potomac Park, around the Tidal Basin near the Jefferson Memorial, close to the National Mall.

Washington tourism department also such as the National Arboretum, Anacostia Park, Dumbarton Oaks in Georgetown, Stanton Park and Oxon Run Park.

The cherry trees were given "as a gift of friendship to the People of the United States from the People of Japan," the park service says. More than 3,000 cherry trees of various varieties from Yokohama on March 26, 1912.

When is the National Cherry Blossom Festival?

The park service, in collaboration with the will be celebrating the boom in the district from March 20 to April 14.

Multiple events are scheduled for the festival, including a parade, concerts and fireworks, for locals and for visitors who descend upon the city during the season.

Festival president and CEO Diana Mayhew, in a , said enthusiasm around the festival "is at an all-time high."

"We’ve received record-breaking numbers of volunteers, and our hospitality sector is reporting higher-than-average numbers," Mayhew said.

Officials have recommended festivalgoers take public transportation because of the limited parking.

The US Capitol is seen through cherry blossoms in Washington, DC, on March 27, 2023.

include:

  • The Blossom Kite Festival around the Washington Monument on March 30 from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • The Cherry Blossom Festival Parade on April 13 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. along Constitution Avenue.
  • The Petalpalooza music and arts festival from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Capital Riverfront on April 6, with fireworks at 8:30 p.m.

The dates for some events, such as the Jefferson Memorial Cherry Blossom Ranger Talk, ranger-led lantern walks and the Pups N' Petals Dog Walk have not yet been announced.

Fruit and flower festivals:Festivals forced to adapt as climate change disrupts historic weather patterns

A park bench and a scooter sit in floodwaters during high tide across the Washington Channel from The Wharf amid cherry blossoms in peak bloom near the Tidal Basin on March 23, 2023 in Washington, D.C.

Climate change

In recent years, climate change has affected the blossom boom, bringing the peak earlier than usual. In 2013, for instance, , about two weeks later than the current date, The Associated Press reported.

Cherry blossom bloom dates since 2004, provided by the National Park Service. Peak bloom is the date that 70% of the Yoshino cherry tree buds have reached peak bloom.

Jeff Reinbold, superintendent of the National Mall and memorial parks for the National Park Service, told AP a hotter-than-usual January left the trees "confused" amid their necessary and normal winter dormant period.

Rising sea levels also have affected water flow into the Tidal Basin, which can damage the trees' roots.

Saman Shafiq is a trending news reporter for ˽ýӳ. Reach her at sshafiq@gannett.com and follow her on X, formerly Twitter, at @saman_shafiq7.

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