Peak bloom for DC's cherry blossoms delayed by frigid temps

Henrietta Strickland
March 13, 2018

RIKUGI-EN GARDEN: March 21-April 5; Rikugi-en, a garden built in Edo Period, is famous for the drooping cherry trees, illuminated during the bloom; until April 5, garden is open 9 a.m. -9 p.m., blossoms illuminated after sunset.

News outlets report the National Park Service announced Monday afternoon that it is pushing back the peak bloom date from the March 17-to-20 window to March 27 to 31.

Cooler temperatures have kept the cherry blossoms from progressing out of the green bud phase, the first of six phases leading to peak bloom, said Mike Litterst, a spokesman for the Park Service.

The 10-day shift is one Litterst said baffles the park service.

"Anytime that you're dealing with something temperature dependent, you can't get an accurate forecast beyond 10 days", he said. In 2016 and 2017, peak bloom was March 25, according to National Park Service records.

Frigid, blustery conditions are expected this week: both Tuesday and Wednesday will have below-averages temperatures and gusty conditions. Typical highs are in the mid-50s this time of year.

Peak bloom is defined as the period when at least 70 percent of the almost 3,000 cherry trees along the Tidal Basin are blossoming.

However, the cherry blossom buds faced a challenge from Mother Nature over the weekend of March 1 when damaging wind gusts blasted through the Mid-Atlantic. The Yoshino trees are the most abundant of the 12 species around the Tidal Basin and East Potomac Park. Once peak bloom is reached, the blossoms can remain on the trees from four to 10 days.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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