D.C.'s Cherry Blossoms Likely to Peak Early

The blossoms on March 29, 2008.
The blossoms on March 29, 2008. (James M. Thresher - Washington Post)
By Michael E. Ruane
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, March 20, 2009; 9:30 AM

The National Park Service this morning moved up its prediction of the peak blooming period of Washington's cherry blossoms.

Park Service horticulturalist and blossom forecaster Rob DeFeo said he now believes the blossoms will peak from April 1 to April 4. He had earlier estimated a peak bloom period from April 3 to April 9.

"It's been just a hair warmer," he said this morning. "Things are moving a little quicker than I thought."

Peak bloom occurs when 70 percent of the white and pink flowers are out. DeFeo said the overall blooming period probably will be from March 28 through April 11.

The National Cherry Blossom Festival begins March 28, with a family day celebrating Japanese culture at the National Building Museum, and runs through April 12. The annual parade and Japanese street festival are scheduled for April 4.

The festival brings about a million visitors each year to see the cherry trees, most of which are around the Tidal Basin and in East Potomac Park.

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