By Mary Bubala

BALTIMORE (WJZ)– When strong storms roared through Washington last week, some of the capital’s greatest natural treasures were in the bulls-eye.

Cherry blossom trees were twisted and snapped like matchwood following severe weather.

“Mother nature’s a beast. It can move a lot of things,” said New York native Dan Marcy.

Debris from an EF-0 tornado still lines the tidal basin.

“A little scary how there are so many trees around here and this could happen,” said New York resident John Tobin.

Nine trees were torn apart, four of them were cherry trees.

“This came along, and it was really destructive,” said Catherine Townsend, president of the Trust Fund for the National Mall.

Each year, the National Park Service replaces 90 cherry trees, lost from decay or damage.

“Damage was very severe but localized,” said Mike Litterst of the National Park Service.

The Trust Fund for the National Mall is launching a cherry tree endowment to generate $50,000-$60,000.

“They do some genetic grafting of the trees to help preserve the original,” Townsend said.

The trust is contracting with area nurseries.

“So that the new trees they plant have a piece of the original cherry trees that were delivered,” Townsend said.

A beloved tradition is damaged, but through science, making what’s old, new again.

“Four cherry trees. That’s kind of sad,” said Wisconsin resident Roger Rachuva.

“It’s amazing. To keep everything as original as you can is very important to this area,” Tobin said.

The original cherry trees were first planted in 1912 as a gift of friendship to the people of the united states from the people of japan.

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