Every March, anticipation fills the air as buds on over 350,000 Yoshino cherry trees are preparing to bloom. However, there have been rare years where it seemed random as to when the trees decide to wake up and paint the streets with their pink hues. We’ve compiled some key information on what influences the area’s Cherry Trees to bloom and what you can expect this year!
Statistically, the average peak bloom date for Macon is March 23. This data comes from none other than William A. Fickling Sr., who first began to propagate Yoshino cherry trees in the 1950s and kept a log of bloom periods in Macon for over ten years but this can change depending on a few key factors.
Winter Weather Conditions – Chill Hours
Cherry trees need a minimum number of chill hours to bloom during their average peak in the region and sometimes milder winter weather can cause the trees to take a little longer before opening up. Other trees that follow this same pattern include one of Georgia's most well-known: the peach tree. Despite many of us wanting warmer weather, for the cherry trees' sake, we may need to hope for chillier weather leading up to March.
You may notice on your walk downtown that the cherry trees look nowhere near close to blooming but strangely the trees planted in North Macon near Wesleyan Woods are already showing off their blossoms. This is in part due to several microclimates in various areas of Macon. The city's climate is unique as it is bisected by the Fall Line and depending on where they are located, there will be a few days of bloom variation.
Age and Bloom Length
Another aspect that must be considered is the age of the trees: simply, the younger the tree, the earlier it typically blooms. After the tree begins to bloom, the length can range from 7 to 10 days while others can hang on for as long as two weeks! Pests, diseases and harsh storms can all threaten the longevity of the bloom period as well.
What Does This All Mean for This Year's International Cherry Blossom Festival?
Our Winter this past year proved to have some icy nights, with some areas even seeing light snow. The conditions may have actually provided a prosperous environment, as it aided with the chill hours and hopefully diminished the number of pests and diseases looking to take root on the beloved staples of Spring.
As of early March, predictions show that the cherry trees will bloom right on schedule for this year's International Cherry Blossom Festival opening weekend that starts on March 18 and runs through March 27. So there's no need to stress, all that we have to prepare for now is 10-days of fun!
Want to watch the trees bloom from the comfort of your home? Check out The Bloom Cam below and head to our event page for more details on this year's exciting activities.