Sakura Watch, April 24, 2016 - Starting to see some buds turn to leaves
Sakura Watch, April 24, 2016 - Starting to see some buds turn to leaves is a clear sign that the sakura cherry blossom development cycle has been interrupted by the up and down weather we have had this spring. This had happened before in 2014 where the blossoms had bloomed in the second week of May (similar to this year's prediction), and the trees overall appeared to be more thinned - blossoms mixed with green leaves - offering a less stunning effect than full-on blossoming trees.
Photos shot as part of this gallery show some of the buds beginning to allow their green leaves to emerge. Notice the elongated shape of these buds as they differ from what we would be expected to see with a healthy sakura cherry blossom bud that tends to be more round and swollen - like a balloon. Now looking back at 2014 the photos from that year do better show what we can expect this year throughout the park.
The only trend that is a bit of concern is that many of the buds are still looking small and closed. This may signal that they too are going to be changing straight to leaves instead of blossoms. The longer we wait, and later into May we go waiting for the buds to open up, the less amount of blooming flowers will be seen. Typical blooming times have in the past been starting around this week - late April and ending in early May. However since I had launched this website in 2012, it has been becoming more and more apparent that each year as the cold weather has been unpredictable and lasting longer into April, the sakura cherry blossom trees have been suffering a bit more because of it.
Let's hope that this year we do get to enjoy some blossoms sooner than later, and as of today we still to be on track for peak full bloom to occur between May 5-12th, 2016. Stay tuned for more updates to come!