grass seed germination temperature

What Temperature Does Grass Seed Need To Germinate?

For the inexperienced gardener, it is a common mistake to think that grass seed can be planted at any time of year and in any weather. If you want your lawn to be lush, green and healthy, then you must ensure the correct conditions before sowing your seed.

What a lot of people fail to realise is that there is an optimal grass seed germination temperature and you’ll need to stick to this if you want to see successful grass seed germination. But don’t worry, if you’re unsure where to start, our helpful guide on the best temperature to grow grass will provide you with all the expert knowledge you will need.

While there’s a little more to understand about grass seed temperature, life is so much easier when you have a grass seed germination temperature chart. 

Grass Species Temperatures (°F)
Kentucky Bluegrass 59 - 86
Rough Bluegrass 68 - 86
Chewings Fescue 69 - 77
Creeping Red Fescue 69 - 77
Sheep Fescue 59 - 77
Tall Fescue 68 - 86
Perennial Ryegrass 68 - 86
Annual Ryegrass 68 - 86

Time Of Year

You could be forgiven for thinking that it doesn’t matter what time of year you plant your grass but this is one of the most common mistakes. Planting at the wrong time will result in your grass not growing to its full potential so this is something that needs to be taken seriously.

What’s also important to keep in mind is that grass doesn’t grow the same all year round. Think about your mowing schedule. During the winter, you don’t need to mow at all, whereas the summer months will see you in the yard with the mower at least once a week; once a fortnight at a push.

The thing is that there are different varieties of grass that tend to do better at different times of the year. We’ll look more at warm and cool season grasses later on but for now, just remember that the type you choose will determine the best time for planting. By sticking to the best planting times, you will give your grass the best chance at thriving and developing into that beautiful, lush lawn you have been dreaming of. Moreover, it will limit the number of dead patches that may appear in the lawn, giving it a more consistent appearance.

A lot of people make the mistake of applying their grass seed in spring. This is a common misconception with many people thinking that they should sort out those dead patches that have appeared over winter. However, the problem with this is that spring can be an incredibly unpredictable season with cold snaps and warm waves fighting against one another.

In most regions, spring also tends to be a relatively wet season and this is one of the primary reasons that grass seed germination fails at this time of year. While grass seed does require water to do well, too much will have the opposite effect. Furthermore, if you attempt to sow your grass seed in soil that is cooler than 50ºf, there’s a very good chance that it won’t germinate and if it does, it’ll take a long time.

The best soil temperature for grass seed germination is above 65ºf and this temperature must remain consistent for a period of at least ten days.

Grass Type

As well as thinking about the best time of year for grass germination, you’ll also need to consider the type of grass that you are planting. Whether it is a cool season and warm season will impact the correct temperature. 

Cool Season Grasses

Cool season grasses need to have a temperature of at least 60ºf during the day although this temperature can go as high as 75ºf. If you are going to be working with cool season grass then the best time of year to plant this is during the early fall. With the average daytime temperature at this time of year being ideal for cool season grass, you will find that the soil temperature remains anywhere between 50 and 70ºf; perfect for grass seed germination.

Now, some people may fall into the trap of believing that, as a cool season grass, planting in winter is OK; this is not the case. While the grass will do well over winter, the roots do need time to establish before being exposed to frost, which is why it’s super important to plant in the fall. You also need to consider how much sunlight the grass will get, and maybe you should consider a shade tolerant grass

Warm Season Grasses

You should only plant warm season grass if you live in zones 8 to 10 as these locations have the best conditions for this variety. If you’ve been wondering that temperature does grass need to germinate in warmer climates then the answer is much warmer than cool season grasses.

For warm season grass, you will need a consistent daytime temperature of approximately 80ºf. That said, you should also keep evening temperatures in mind as these will affect the temperature of the soil which will typically be around the same. In any case, we would recommend planting warm season grass in the spring. However, you may notice that spring feels a little too cool and in this case, it is a wise idea to hold off until summer comes around. Whenever you plant, make sure to water the seeds well as they will need good moisture levels to germinate.

Water And Soil Contact

When planting grass seed, you don’t want to go too deep. The best depth is just half an inch but in terms of water, you’ll need to ensure that the first inch of soil remains moist. If you stick to this and make sure that you plant when the temperature is right, you will likely find that your grass thrives.


There is something of an art to planting grass and while it certainly doesn’t take a phD in garden know-how, you do need to make sure that you familiarise yourself with the best time to plant grass seed. Think about the type of grass you are planting and the local weather conditions to ensure the best results.

Andrew Fisher

Andrew Fisher

Andrew is a dedicated father of three who really takes pride in his lawn and garden. You'll find Andrew behind the scenes of almost everything Edge Your Lawn produces. When he's not helping readers find all the information they need, he's in his backyard working on his lawn and garden landscaping. This year he hopes to build an outdoor deck and sort out his veg patches.

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