It's All About Timing

Along the tidal basin in our nation’s capital, the cherry trees are patiently waiting for the arrival of spring. No calendar, forecaster or groundhog is there to help them decide when winter will end. Instead, the trees wait for the right number of consecutively warm days – nature’s “All Clear” sign. Once the right temperature sum is reached, the blooms open and the Tidal Basin is swathed in a breathtaking curve of pink and white flowers.

We’ve come a long way, but we still can’t totally predict when the D.C. Cherry Trees will actually bloom. Horticulturalists diligently monitor the budding stages and dutifully predict peak blooms, but a late March Nor’easter can still stall the show.

Tourists aren’t the only ones confounded by uneven bloom times. Pollinators, like birds and bees, may arrive late to the show when the Cherry Trees unexpectedly bloom early. A bloom/pollinator mismatch may result in less fruit and seedlings for the year.

This year, at least, it seems that the cherry trees will arrive in good time – in late March and early April. Good for the tourists and the pollinators.