Macon’s cherry blossom trees expected to burst into bloom any day now

jkovac@macon.comMarch 19, 2014 

Ahh, the blossoming peculiarities of Prunus yedoensis, the springtime starlets better known as Yoshino cherry trees.

Their pinkish petals have been known to play peekaboo with tourists, their oft-finicky cherry blossoms appearing on their own schedule and not that of the annual festival that bears their name.

But this year should be a dazzler.

So says William Fickling III, whose late grandfather’s fondness of the flowering trees inspired the festival, which begins Friday.

“I think it’s gonna be a beautiful bloom this year,” he said Wednesday. “I think it’s gonna come on time ... and be really pretty.”

Last year’s warmer winter caused an irregular bloom, Fickling said.

“Even on the same tree, some branches sprouted out, some didn’t,” he said. “So it was not like the whole tree was all of a sudden covered with a profusion of blooms, which is what the Yoshinos are famous for.”

Fickling says most of the trees’ buds are now in their “pink blush” phase, on the verge of flowering.

“If the weather stays warm for the rest of the week, they should pop open in time for Friday.”

Similar to peach trees, Yoshinos need what plant gurus refer to as “chill hours.”

Cold winters for such trees tend to make for better blooms.

“And they certainly got chill hours this year,” Fickling said.

Fickling lives along Ingleside Avenue. There are cherry trees galore, and when the cottony canopy is in full bloom, the place glows.

He figures his blossoms will arrive sometime around the weekend. Say, Sunday or so.

March 23 is the average “peak blossom” day for cherry trees here, Fickling said.

Trouble is, the margin of error is plus or minus two weeks.

“We have to set the date of the festival five years in advance,” he said. “So if you will tell me what the weather’s gonna be five years in advance, then I can set the date of the festival just fine.”

To contact writer Joe Kovac Jr., call 744-4397.

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