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When Will the Cherry Blossoms Arrive in Brooklyn? Likely Soon, Experts Say

By Rachel Holliday Smith | March 20, 2017 1:38pm | Updated on March 20, 2017 1:59pm
 The famous cherry trees at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden have not been badly damaged by this spring's wild weather, experts at the garden said.
The famous cherry trees at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden have not been badly damaged by this spring's wild weather, experts at the garden said.
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DNAinfo/Rachel Holliday Smith

Technically, it’s the first day of spring today. But those stubborn slush piles on every corner may have you wondering: When does spring really start?

For us at DNAinfo, the season begins with cherry blossoms. And, luckily for all New Yorkers, the wild weather of the last few weeks hasn’t damaged the beautiful blooms too much, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden says; in fact, an unusually warm February may bring the blossoms out early this year.

The sleet/slush/snow storm last week damaged only a few early magnolia blossoms, peonies and a smattering of early-blooming cherry trees in the garden, BBG staff said in a blog post Friday.

But the famous, spring-blooming cherry blossoms — Prunus ‘Okame’ and P. ‘Kanzan’ for you horticulture nerds — are doing just fine.

“The buds of a few of the ‘Okame’ had started to swell, so there could be some slight damage, but there are still plenty of flowers left,” said Brian Funk, curator of the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden and Cherry Walk. “For the rest of the collection, most buds were still tight. The ‘Kanzan’ and other later-blooming cherries should be perfectly fine as long as the weather stays stable.”

Typically, the first cherry blossoms start coming out at the end of March and continue blooming through June, the BBG said, though peak bloom time is hard to predict. The garden’s annual cherry blossom extravaganza, the Sakura Matsuri festival, is scheduled to take place the last week of April.

For now, despite last week’s cold spell, Funk is betting on an early showing from the cherries, thanks to that weird stretch of unusually warm days in February.

“We’re still likely to see an early peak bloom, because they already got a head start,” he said.

Can’t wait for that cheery burst of pink flowers? Check the BBG’s “CherryWatch” map for early blooms, updated every weekday.