The Soil Scout Social - Germination in cool soil

It is well-known that planting in low temperatures can cause delay in emergence, and it’s important to emphasise that the soil temperature is what counts, not the air. As a few examples, peas, lentils, and chickpeas can be planted when the average soil at the depth of seeding reaches 5°C (41°F) while dry beans and soybean should not be planted until the average soil temperature is much higher. Furthermore, flax can germinate at temperatures as low as 3-4°C while cereals are also quite cold tolerant and can be seeded at about 4-5°C.

Some species, such as canola and mustard are extremely sensitive to soil temperature. They may begin to germinate at temperatures as low as 1-2°C, but the consequences of seeding into cold soil are severe. Growth will start very slowly until soil warms up, resulting in prolonged exposure to diseases as well as insects. In addition, the longer it takes for canola to emerge, the weaker protection against flea beetles the seed coating provides. All in all, seedling survival becomes lower in cool soils, resulting in an uneven stand.

The Canola Council of Canada has suggested a guideline to seed canola when the average soil temperature at the seeding depth is 6-10°C.

Various Crops will Tolerate Various Soil Temperature Ranges

Stay with us weekly to explore the agronomic advantages of monitoring soil temperature together. You can also ask one of our soil monitoring experts a question to answer next week.. Click here to send an email with your question

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James Baylis

Head of Creative Content at Soil Scout. With over 20 years experience in the design, media and photographic industries, James has a passion for promoting the Soil Scout solution through creative content and marketing.