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How will cold snap affect D.C.'s cherry blossom trees?

Wednesday - 3/26/2014, 5:29am  ET

cherry (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
D.C.'s cherry blossom trees haven't yet bloomed on the Tidal Basin, but the cold weather shouldn't affect their peak blooming time. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)

WASHINGTON - D.C.'s famed cherry blossom trees are stronger than spring time snow and cold snaps.

A day or two of chilly weather only impacts the exterior of the ground and "it's really the temperature under the ground that's more important for the trees," says Brian Hall, U.S Park Service public affairs officer for the National Mall and Memorial Parks.

Peak bloom for Tidal Basin cherry trees is forecast for April 8 through April 12. Hall says he thinks the prediction will hold despite snow falling on the D.C. region Tuesday.

This week's cold weather might slow down bloom growth, but it should be balanced out by the more stimulating warmer weather expected this weekend, he says. Highs are forecasted to be in the 60s Friday and Saturday.

"If the soil temperature maintains around 40 degrees or so, the trees can pull in more water from the soil and thus make the nutrients, which make the blooming cycle move forward on a normal pace," Hall says.

Cherry blossom buds right now are in a "floret" stage, which means they're still tight balls mostly covered by protective woody sheaths.

They're at such an early stage in their blooming cycle that a cold snap isn't going to damage the cherry trees in any way, Hall says.

"The trees are just fine," Hall says.

The most the cold might do is delay the blooming period by just a little bit, he adds.

The National Cherry Blossom Festival is underway and lasts until April 13.

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