- The Washington Times - Friday, March 5, 2010

The 3,750 cherry blossom trees that line the Tidal Basin and surrounding national parks in Washington, D.C., survived winter blizzards and will again bloom during the peak tourist season, according to the National Park Service.

Agency horticulturalist Rob Defeo says only four or five trees were destroyed and that crews are working seven days a week to prepare for the annual Cherry Blossom Festival, which runs from March 27 to April 11.

The damage is nothing we haven’t seen in 90-plus years,” he said. “I guarantee you, by the time the festival comes around, you won’t even know there was a [blizzard] event.”

The first trees were a gift to the city in 1912 from Tokyo Mayor Yukio Ozaki.

More than a million people each year attend the festival, which includes a parade, a fundraising gala, exhibits across the city on Japanese ceramics and garments and paddle boat rides around the Tidal Basin.

Mr. Defeo said he makes his predictions based on such factors as weather and looking at tree buds, which right now are scarce.

He also said the peak blooming period will be April 3 to April 8 and that this is the 10th straight year the trees will bloom during the festival.

This story is based in part on the wire service reports.

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