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Cherry Blossoms Bloom Early

Posted: March 6, 2023

The 3,700 cherry trees in Washington, D.C., are confused. This winter was warmer than usual. Now the trees’ beautiful blossoms are showing up earlier than expected.

Officials announced that the trees would reach peak bloom this year from March 22-25. (Peak bloom is when the majority of the flowers are open at the same time.) That’s several days earlier than people expected.

The district had big weather shifts this winter. In February, temperatures hit 81 degrees one day. Snow came two days later. The shifts plus the warm weather sent confusing signals to the trees.

The early bloom isn’t a huge problem. But what happens if temperatures drop suddenly again? “An early frost would definitely damage the blossoms,” Jeff Reinbold says. He works for the National Park Service (NPS). The agency takes care of the trees.

Diana Mayhew runs the annual Cherry Blossom Festival. She says this year’s bloom is the second earliest she had seen in 23 years. So the festival rescheduled some of its events. The events moved up by a week.

Mrs. Mayhew says she expects a big year for the festival. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, about 1.5 million visitors came each year to see the blooms. This year, Mayhew hopes to match those numbers. Maybe even more people will enjoy the pink and white flowers.

Washington’s cherry blossoms date back 111 years. The mayor of Tokyo, Japan, gave Washington 3,000 trees in 1912. The Japanese embassy still helps take care of the trees.

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever. — Isaiah 40:8

Cherry blossoms bloom in a park in Washington, D.C., on February 27, 2023. (AP/Andrew Harnik)