Cherry blossom bloom dates changed again


View Photo Gallery: This spring, the nation celebrates 100 years since the Japanese gave us the iconic cherry trees that flourish around the Tidal Basin.

For the second time this week, the National Park Service has moved up its forecast of Washington’s Tidal Basin cherry blossom bloom.

Wednesday morning, the agency announced that the bloom should now begin March 18 — two days before this year’s National Cherry Blossom festival begins — and peak between March 20 and 23.

With the recent unusually warm weather, the park service has now moved up the bloom forecast twice.

This year Washington is celebrating the centennial of the first planting of cherry trees on the Tidal Basin in 1912.

“Yes, they will be earlier than I predicted,” the park service’s cherry blossom expert, horticulturist Robert DeFeo said in an e-mail to the festival. “I do not anticipate any changes in the forecast.”

The blossoms “are moving and won’t slow down — not with night temps staying in the 50’s,” he wrote. “Blossoms will be out in time for the opening of the festival — but won’t last until the end.”

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