Things to Do

This Is Probably the Last Weekend to See Cherry Blossoms at the Tidal Basin

High winds in the final days of peak bloom are causing petals to drop.

The Thomas Jefferson Memorial during cherry blossom season. Photograph courtesy of

Peak bloom is coming to a close, and this weekend will likely be your last chance to see the Tidal Basin cherry blossoms amid windy conditions.

On Friday, the National Weather Service issued a High Wind Watch across the DC area for gusts of up to 60 miles per hour from Saturday afternoon to Sunday night. According to National Park Service spokesperson Mike Litterst, the blossoms are fragile by nature and would not be able to endure such wind, even at their strongest stage. “It doesn’t take much more than a breeze to send the petals flying,” says Litterst.

Wind isn’t the only culprit: Time is also a factor. Litterst estimates that 25 to 30 percent of cherry trees at the Tidal Basin have already moved past peak bloom and into the leaf stage. “As far as the trees are concerned, they have to get rid of the petals so the leaves can come in,” says Litterst. 

If you don’t get a chance to see the Yoshino trees this weekend, at least one variety of blossoms, the Kanzan cherry trees, have a peak bloom window two weeks after the Tidal Basin trees. Once the Kanzan open their petals, take a stroll around East Potomac Park to see the blooms. 

Julia Rosenberg
Editorial Fellow