What you need to know about ...
When soil temperatures are
within an optimum range,
seeds germinate quickly, giving
young seedlings the best chance
to grow into healthy plants.
The longer it takes for a plant to
emerge, the more time fungi have
to attack and invade plant tissue.
Often, these fungi attack the stem,
so the seedling falls over and
dies.Rapid emergence keeps the
seedling one step ahead of these
All of a seed’s food reserves are
stored inside the seed coat. If all
of this food is used up before the
plant is producing its own sugars,
When the plant is underground,
the food reserves in the seed must
article revised October 2009
photo by Todd Johnson
Why does temperature matter?
Running out of fuel
Average soil temperatures can help determine the best time to plant. For help, call
meet all of its needs. Once the plant
is above ground, leaves will produce
enough sugar for new growth.
The best approach is to plant going
into a warming trend. When the
1-day and 3-day averages are warmer
than the 7-day average, your area
is experiencing a warming trend.
Reducing seed loss
When looking at soil temperatures
for planting, you should use the
“3-day Avg. 4-in under bare soil
Begin at http://agweather.
mesonet.org, select “Soil,” then
“Average Soil Temperature.” See
the back for appropriate planting