Because of warmer temperatures this winter, National Park Service horticulturalists are revising their predictions for the peak bloom date of the District's cherry blossoms.
This peak bloom date has moved up four days, with the Yoshino cherry trees' pink and white flowers expected between March 20 and March 23. The blooming period was originally projected to start on March 22, but now, 20 percent of the cherry blossoms may be open on March 18.
These dates are much earlier than previous years with the average peak bloom date being April 4. Last year, the blooming period was from March 26 to April 8.
The peak bloom date is determined when 70 percent of the blossoms bloom around the Tidal Basin. The trees' blooming period − when 20 percent of the blossoms are open until the petals fall and leaves appear − can last up to 14 days depending on weather conditions.
The horticulturalists provide their forecasts based on careful observation of the five stages of bud development: green color in buds, florets visible, extension of florets, peduncle elongation, puffy white, and peak bloom.
As of today, 70 percent of the buds have reached the peduncle elongation stage.
WTTG FOX 5 & myfoxdc
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