Photo: Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

DC's Cherry Blossom Festival Will Have Much Fewer Trees After This Year

News National Parks
by Morgane Croissant Mar 29, 2024

At the end of May 2024, just a few weeks after the famous National Cherry Blossom Festival ends, 300 trees will be cut down from the National Mall in Washington, DC, including 158 of the nearly 3,700 Japanese cherry trees.

According to a press release from the National Park Service, the removal of the trees is an unfortunate necessity to complete the construction work that will protect the site for the next 100 years and allow visitors to have a better experience at this iconic venue.

The settling of the ground around the seawalls of the Tidal Basin and West Potomac Park, as well as the rising sea level due to climate change, have damaged the infrastructures, leading to daily flooding, endangering the safety of those who walk around the area, and threatening the beloved trees and the memorials.

Cherry blossoms surrounding the Tidal Basin in the National Mall in Washington, DC

Photo: Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

The seawalls were built in the late 19th century and early 20th century, and since then, the water level has risen by more than a foot around the Tidal Basin, writes Smithonian Magazine‘s Christian Thorsberg.

The seawall restoration work will start in late May 2024 and will end in 2027. During that time, the trails will remain open for visitors to wander around the site — but with fewer trees to enjoy.

While the removal of 300 trees might upset some, keep in mind that once the project is completed, 455 trees will be replanted in the area, 274 of which will be the flowering cherry trees that visitors to DC know and love.

While DC is an emblematic place to see the cherry blossoms, especially if you attend the National Cherry Blossom Festival, it is not the only one in the nation. If you’d rather skip DC until the construction work is done and the new trees are planted, head over to Macon, Georgia, nicknamed the “Cherry Blossom Capital of the World. It is an exceptional spot to see the blooms and its International Cherry Blossom Festival is a must-see.

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