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Forget the Tidal Basin, Arlington Has Cherry Trees Aplenty

The Tidal Basin may get all the attention during the National Cherry Blossom Festival, but why wade through a sea of tourists to see a bunch of cherry trees when there are literally thousands right here in Arlington?

There are 1,050 ornamental cherry trees lining county streets, according to Arlington urban forester Richard Miller. And that number doesn’t include cherry trees that are planted in parking lots, in parks or on private property.

The trees planted in Arlington include the Yoshino, Okame and Kwanzan varieties. The Yoshino Cherry is the dominant variety around the Tidal Basin, where the National Park Service has just announced that blossoms have reached full bloom.

Miller says the county parks department plants about 20 ornamental cherry trees per year, primarily in places where vertical space is limited, such as under power lines. The trees have a life span of about 50 years.

“The trees do really well in this area,” says Chris Harlan of Arlington Tree Care. “The shame about it is [the blossoms] only last for a short time.”

Harlan says harsh weather, such as the recent cold temperatures and strong winds, will reduce to length of the bloom.

“It’s unfortunate, you wait all year and the blossoms come out, but we’re always in such a transition with the weather that it affects the blossoms,” said Harlan, who cites the weeping cherry trees on North Edison Street near Yorktown High School as his personal favorite this time of year.

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