Cherry Blossom Blitz

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In many parts of the country, the arrival of cherry blossoms is a sure sign that spring is here. These beautiful and showy trees captivate the senses with their magnificent blooms and soft scents. The tradition of cherry blossom festivals in the United States began in Washington D.C. in 1927 and now many communities across the U.S. host festivals as well. Since so many people are outside enjoying these trees, spring is a great time to focus attention on seasonal change. You can participate in the Cherry Blossom Blitz from February  into May - whenever cherry trees are blossoming in your area. Locate a cherry tree, observe, and report to Budburst what your tree is doing!

Why Cherry Blossoms?

Cherry Blossom Blitz is the only targeted, continental-scale campaign of its kind targeted to the collection of cherry blossom data by the public for research. In November, 2011, scientists studying cherry blossom phenology used data from Budburst to test their models about changing blossom times. Their research suggested earlier peak bloom dates due to the warmer temperatures projected by climate change scenarios. Continuing to gather data through the annual Cherry Blossom Blitz provides scientists and the public with more data over time. Data that can be used to compare this year’s blossom dates to dates over previous years and reveal trends and help event planners to project peak bloom dates for future festivals.

How to Report on Cherry Blossoms

Reporting on your local cherry tree as it blossoms is easy!  Note that with cherry trees, flowering occurs before leafing - this is not the case with all deciduous trees.  

  • Identify your Cherry Tree - there are eight cherry species on the Budburst Plant List .  Even if your cherry tree is not on our list, you can still submit a report!  
  • Log into your Budburst Account - submit your One-time or Life-cycle Report using your handheld device or record your observations on a field report form (downloadable from the plant webpage) and post your findings later. 
  • Track your data - check your cherry blossom data from previous years in your Budburst Account, or view data from other observers using the Data menu.  Is this year's blossoming earlier or later than previous years? 

We invite you to track your tree over the entire growing season.  Create a Life-cycle Report to follow your tree through multiple phenophase events: Bud burst, first leaf, all leaves unfolded, first flower, full flower, first ripe fruit, full fruiting, 50% color and 50% leaf fall. 

All observations - whether Life-cycle or One-time - are helpful in understanding how plants respond to changes in climate and atmosphere over time.