Predicting peak bloom can be difficult, but as buds start to open you can estimate when the flowers will bloom. Check out the images above for the stages of blossom development.
Stage One: Green Colour in Buds: Cherry blossoms emerge before the leaves on the tree. The first sign of their impending arrival are fat, round green buds on the branches of the tree.
Stage Two: Florets Visible: About 14 days before peak bloom, the buds swell and florets (small flowers) start to become visible.
Stage Three: Extension of Florets: Approximately 12 days before peak bloom, the florets (deep pink at this stage) start to extend out of the buds.
Stage Four: Peduncle Elongation: 6-10 days before peak bloom, the peduncles (flower stems) get longer and the individual blossoms can be clearly seen. Blossoms are very vulnerable to frost at this stage.
Stage Five: Fluffy White: 4-6 days before peak bloom, the fluffy white Sakura blossoms begin to open. Each flower opens at a different time.
Stage Six: Peak Bloom: “Peak bloom” starts when at least 70% of the blossoms are open. Once open, flowers last from 4-10 days, depending on the weather conditions. Cool, calm weather can extend the bloom period, while warm, unsettled weather can shorten it.
Blossoms in High Park usually reach peak bloom between late April and early May. As you can see from our Peak Bloom Records below, the date varies year by year as it is a temperature dependent process. In 2016, there was no peak bloom due to unpredictable weather patterns during the winter and early spring.
In 2018, peak bloom occurred on Cherry Blossom Hill on May 7. Trees in other locations of the park (along Grenadier Pond and near the Adventure Playground) hit peak bloom 4 days later on May 11.
The blooming period begins when 20% of the cherry blossoms are open and ends when the petals fall. “Peak bloom” starts when at least 70% of the blossoms are open. Once open, flowers last from 4-10 days, depending on the weather conditions. Cool, calm weather can extend the bloom period, while warm, unsettled weather can shorten it.
Blossom development is a temperature sensitive process. Warm weather encourages cherry trees to bloom early, while cooler temperatures delay bloom time. It is difficult to predict peak bloom more than 10 days in advance because it is so dependent on weather conditions. In the chart below you can see how temperature and bloom dates correspond.