National Mall

National Mall

2011 Cherry Blossom Peak Bloom Predictions

March 3, 2011, 9:21 am

National Park Service Chief Horticulturist Rob DeFeo on Thursday morning offered his best educated guess for the date when Washington's famed cherry trees will be in peak bloom: March 29 to April 3.

The National Cherry Blossom Festival, which will run from March 26 through April 10. The average peak bloom date is April 4, according to the festival organizers.

DeFeo has been accurate on his predictions 16 of the past 19 years. But last year, after the region's record-setting snowfalls, he blew the call when March was unusually warm.

Right now, he said, "the buds are swollen and taking up moisture. They're green."

Though it has been cold the past few days, DeFeo said, "a lot of people don't realize that a day like today, the sun is hitting that soil and it's warming up the soil. It doesn't have to necessarily be 70 degrees; when the soil gets warm and the soil is moist, and it's very moist right now, it's just three or four more weeks."

DeFeo noted that the blossoms will remain visible longer than the peak period, but he cautioned that it is hard to predict how long. In 2008, the blossoms bloomed for 18 days, though last year it was only 10 days.


Image: Thomas Jefferson Memorial framed by cherry blossoms. Source: