Cherry blossoms’ peak bloom pushed back to April 8-12

WASHINGTON — The cherry blossoms in D.C. won’t hit peak bloom until the week of April 8, according to a new estimate from the National Park Service.

Peak bloom occurs when 70 percent of the Yoshino cherry trees are in bloom.

“With the continued cold temperatures we’re experiencing and a little snow doesn’t help either, we’re now looking at peak bloom occurring sometime between April 8 and April 12,” said National Mall spokesman Mike Litterst. “Historically that puts it about five days after the average peak bloom date, which is April 3.”

On Thursday, the parks service tweeted that its “indicator tree” on the National Mall hit full bloom. But Litterst said that the colder-than-normal weather is making it difficult for the rest of the trees to get the heat they need to bloom.

“The temperatures, of course, are not cooperating with us,” he said. “The indicator tree, for example, hit peak bloom yesterday, and it is usually seven to 10 days out, which would have put us right on track. But the temperatures and the forecast that we’re seeing just aren’t going to be enough to get us there by next weekend.”

This is the second time the parks service has pushed back when it expects peak bloom.

The organization originally expected peak bloom to happen between March 17 and March 20, but that was pushed back to March 27 and March 31 because of the colder-than-normal weather in March.

“We’ve had 17 days this month that were below-average temperatures and not just a little bit,” Litterst said. “The average low for each of those days has been 9 degrees below where they should have been…the blossoms just aren’t getting the warmth they need to continue on the path to peak.”

Litterst said the one silver lining from the delay is D.C. cherry blossoms could be hitting peak bloom during the National Cherry Blossom Festival’s parade.

“I think the parade is sort of the pinnacle of all the events,” he said. “If we can have those pretty pink and white blossoms when everyone is in town for the parade, that’s a win.”

WTOP’s Kristi King contributed to this report.

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