Apr 22, 2024 - Climate

Why Jackson Park's cherry blossom scene fizzled this year

woman in front of tree

Monica is dismayed by another year of dud cherry blossoms in Jackson Park. Photo: Monica Eng/Axios

Jackson Park's cherry blossoms were vanquished by a one-two punch of 70 degree temps followed by wind and snow this spring, according to the Park District.

Why it matters: This spoils plans for spring "hanami" or flower viewing near the Museum of Science and Industry that has attracted hundreds of tourists and locals for selfies and petal showers in recent years.

What they're saying: Southwest Michigan extension fruit tree specialist William Shane points to January's -10 to -15 temperatures as the culprit.

  • Even if our spring hadn't been so weird, he tells Axios, that bitter cold snap had already messed up the sensitive cherry buds.
  • "Damage at that time of year prevents flower buds from developing."
blossoming fruit tree
Crabapple trees are blooming just fine in a spring when many cherry tree blossoms were severely damaged. Photo: Monica Eng/Axios

The intrigue: Scores of other local fruit trees are blossoming just fine after enduring the same erratic weather. So what gives?

  • "Apple and pear are much more cold tolerant than cherries in January," Shane says. Thus, all the gorgeous pink crabapple, apple and pear blossoms we're enjoying right now.
cherry blossom
Only a few cherry blossoms bloomed in Jackson Park this spring. Photo: Monica Eng/Axios

Fun fact: The Jackson Park cherry grove started in 2013 with 50 trees and grew to 100 by 2016.

  • Partnering with the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the city plans to keep adding trees until 250 decorate the MSI campus for a celebration in 2026 — when, we can only hope, we'll see a better bloom.
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