What is Grass Seed Germination Temperature?- Info Chart

When germinating grass seeds, the optimal temperature can vary depending on the grass seed used. There are two distinct categories of grass seed: Cool Season Grass and Warm Season Grass. Each type of grass seed thrives at different temperature ranges for successful germination. Let’s look at the ideal temperature for grass seed germination conditions for these grass seed types.

Grass Germination Temperature Cool Season Grasses

Cool-season grasses perform well in cooler climates and typically germinate at their best when soil temperatures are 50 to 65°F (10 to 18°C). These grasses are most commonly sown in the spring or before fall, as these periods offer the most favorable temperatures. Some examples of cool-season grasses include:

  • Kentucky Bluegrass
  • Perennial Ryegrass
  • Fine Fescue
  • Tall Fescue

Grass Seed Germination Temperature For Warm Season Grasses

Warm-season grasses, on the other hand, are better suited for warmer climates and typically germinate best when soil temperatures are within the range of 65 to 70°F (18 to 21°C). 

These grasses are usually sown in late spring or before summer when the soil temperatures are warm enough for optimal growth. Some examples of warm-season grasses include:

  • Bermuda Grass
  • Zoysia Grass
  • St. Augustine Grass
  • Centipede Grass
  • Buffalo Grass

What temperature does my soil need to be for seeds to germinate?

Planting seeds in the spring or during winter dormancy will germinate once soil temperatures reach 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Optimal germination happens when the soil is between 50-65 degrees (measured at a depth of two inches). Once this temperature is reached, the process of germination will begin.

However, it’s easy to forget that air temperatures sometimes reflect the soil temperature. To reach the optimal range, we need consistent air temperatures 10 degrees higher than what’s required for the soil: 60-75 degrees.

Grass Seed Germination Temperature Chart And Seeding Information

Grass SpeciesCharacteristicsSuitable Germination Temperature (°F)Seeding Rate (lbs/1000 sq ft)
Bermuda grassDrought-tolerant, fast-growing, high traffic tolerance, invasive75-851-Feb
Kentucky bluegrassDark green, fine texture, cold-tolerant, high maintenance60-752-Mar
Zoysia grassDense, low maintenance, heat-tolerant, slow-growing70-751-Feb
St. Augustine grassShade-tolerant, coarse texture, requires frequent watering70-802-Mar
Fescue grassShade-tolerant, fine texture, low maintenance, drought-resistant50-655-Oct
Centipede grassLow maintenance, slow-growing, acid-tolerant, not cold-tolerant70-801-Feb
Tall fescueDrought-resistant, shade-tolerant, coarse texture60-755-Oct
RyegrassFast-growing, good for overseeding, not drought-tolerant50-655-Oct
BentgrassFine texture, good for putting greens, high maintenance60-750.5-1
Fine fescueShade-tolerant, fine texture, low maintenance50-652-Mar
Bahia GrassDrought-resistant, low maintenance, coarse texture, low traffic tolerance75-855-Oct
BuffalograssDrought-resistant, low maintenance, fine texture, not shade-tolerant60-752-Mar
CarpetgrassLow maintenance, shade-tolerant, coarse texture, not cold-tolerant70-805-Oct
Blue grama grassDrought-resistant, low maintenance, not shade-tolerant70-802-Mar
Seashore paspalumSalt-tolerant, good for coastal areas, high maintenance75-852-Mar
Annual ryegrassFast-growing, good for overseeding, not cold-tolerant50-655-Oct
Perennial ryegrassFast-growing, good for overseeding, not drought-tolerant50-655-Oct

Why is There Such a Difference Between Air and Soil Temperatures?

Soil is an insulator whose pore space can trap air or water. This insulation can keep temperatures very cold when they reach a low level and very hot when they get a high level. Therefore, it takes much longer for the soil to transition from warm to cold or vice versa compared to air.

Ground Temperature For Grass Seed germination can be affected by:

  • Sun exposure
  • Soil type (sandy soils tend to heat up faster)
  • Proximity to groundwater
  • Shade provided by trees, bushes, and other structures
  • Wind speed and direction.

These factors all influence the soil’s ability to insulate itself and affect the temperature of the germinating grass seed. Knowing which conditions are needed for successful germination can help you get your lawn off to a great start!

Related FAQs

What is the coldest temperature you can plant grass seed?

Grass seeds should be planted when soil temperatures are above 60°F (15°C).

What is the best grass seed for high temperatures?

The best grass seed for high temperatures is a warm-season variety, such as Bermuda Grass, Zoysia Grass, St. Augustine Grass, Centipede Grass, or Buffalo Grass. These grasses can better tolerate the heat and drought that can come with the summer months. They also require less mowing than cool-season varieties, which makes them easier to maintain.

What is the Fastest Germinating Grass?

What type of seeds grows the fastest? Bermuda grass is one of the most closed-germinating grass varieties, with seeds sprouting in as little as 7-10 days. It has a dense growth pattern and is highly resistant to drought and wear. Additionally, it can grow in various soil types and needs very little maintenance once established. 

Which seeds germinate the longest?

The oldest seed to be successfully germinated is a 2,000-year-old date seed. This remarkable find was discovered at Masada in the 1960s and planted by Dr. Sarah Sallon of The Louis Borick Natural Medicine Research Centre, located within the Hagasa Medical Organization in Jerusalem. Dr. Elaine Soloway of Kibbutz Ketura, Israel, was also involved in the effort. After decades of dormancy, the seed finally germinated in 2005.

What are the 3 situations necessary for germination?

All seeds need water, oxygen, and proper temperature to germinate. Additionally, some seed require exposure to light, while others need darkness to sprout. Water is necessary for the seed’s cells to swell and initiate the growth process. Oxygen helps with metabolic reactions, allowing the embryo inside of the seed to begin its development. Finally, temperature affects how quickly these processes occur; too high or low temperatures will delay or prevent germination. 

Which plant grows in 2 days?

Chives. Chives are a type of herb that is incredibly easy to grow. You can begin them from seed or buy small plants at your local garden center. Once planted, they’ll take just two days to germinate and will be ready for harvesting in around two weeks! 

What is the fastest-growing plant?

Bamboo is the fastest-growing plant on Earth, with some species growing at an incredible rate of up to 4 feet (1.2 m) daily! Bamboo is a type of perennial evergreen that produces robust shoots, making it great for building materials, furniture, and other products.


The soil temperature range needed for successful grass seed germination varies depending on the grass planted. Cool season grasses typically need a soil temperature range of 50 to 65°F (10 to 18°C), while warm season grasses usually require soil temperatures between 65 and 70°F (18 to 21°C). Air temperatures should be 10 degrees higher than needed for the soil to reach the optimal range.

Soil type, sun exposure, proximity to groundwater, and other environmental factors also affect soil temperature and must be considered when planting grass seed.

Lastly, some plants, such as chives, are straightforward to grow and take just two days to germinate. With a proper understanding of the necessary conditions for germination and nutrient requirements, planting grass seeds can be a successful endeavor.

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