DC cherry blossoms hit stage 5, near peak bloom

D.C.'s famed cherry blossoms are just one step from peak bloom, as they hit stage five of their blooming process on Saturday.

The National Mall National Park Service announced on Twitter that the blooms of the Yoshino Cherry trees along the Tidal Basin hit stage five, meaning they are in the puffy white blossom stage. During stage five, the blossoms become visible and will soon begin opening up as they go into peak bloom.

Cherry blossoms in stage five of blooming. (PHOTO: National Mall NPS)

The bloom process happens in six stages – Green buds, florets visible, extension of florets, peduncle elongation, puffy white blossom, and peak bloom.

According to data from the NPS, peak bloom tends to happen within days of the plants reaching stage five of their bloom. Generally, depending on the weather, that happens to be between the last week of March and the first week of April.

This year's forecast says peak bloom will be between March 22 - March 25. Before the announcement, National Park Service spokesperson Mike Litterst said that because of this year's unusually warm winter, the cherry trees never reached winter dormancy – which is typically the starting point for making peak bloom predictions.

The NPS says that the trees began budding on February 23. They then reached stage two of the bloom process on March 1, stage three on March 7 and stage four on March 11.

People walk past cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C., the United States, on March 16, 2023. (Photo by Liu Jie/Xinhua via Getty Images)

Once peak bloom begins, the NPS says, it can last for a period of several days depending on weather conditions. If conditions are cool and calm peak bloom can last longer, while rainy and windy weather can bring an abrupt end the bloom.