WASHINGTON – The city’s cherry blossoms will bloom earlier than usual this year because of the mild winter, the National Park Service said Thursday.
The pink flowering trees that ring the Tidal Basin will be at their peak between March 24 and March 31, Rob DeFeo, the park service’s chief horticulturalist, said at a press conference at the Newseum.
The blooming period always begins a few days before the peak bloom and can last 10 to 14 days. But changes in the weather make it difficult to predict when the peak bloom will begin and how long it will last, he said.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the planting of Washington’s most famous trees.
The Japanese gifted 3,020 trees to Americans in 1912, as a sign of international friendship between the two nations.
“What we are really celebrating this year – especially this year – is an act of men and women – Japanese and American – and what they did for us a hundred years ago,” said John Malott, the president and CEO of The Japan-America Society of Washington.
The National Cherry Blossom Festival will last for almost six weeks, from March 20 until April 27.