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Wednesday, March 9, 2011 - 10:25am

Cherry Blossoms Arrive Early

Macon’s 300-thousand Yoshino Cherry trees are blooming early. Tourism officials are worried because the city’s Cherry Blossom Festival is more than a week away.

Some of the trees are just beginning to bloom while others are covered in the pale pink flowers. The average peak blooming period is usually the 4th week of March.

University of Georgia Horticulturalist Matthew Chappell says trees are flowering early because of the cold winter, followed by a Valentine’s day warm up.

“The plant has an internal or physiologic clock just like a lot of us do, that says I have met a certain physiologic requirement of cold weather so once I reach a sustained warm period then it will initiate the bloom period.”

Chappell says the trees bloom for 7 to 10 days. He says they should still have flowers at the start of the festival on March 18th. Macon’s International Cherry Blossom Festival brings in 12-million dollars a year.