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Growing Degree Days for Sunflower

How Many Needed From Planting to Emergence?

Warmer weather has finally arrived and will hopefully continue. Some areas will just be getting started, but for others, their sunflowers have been sitting in the ground for a day. We hear about growing degree days (GDD) a lot with corn, but not as much with sunflowers. How many GDD are actually needed from planting to emergence for sunflowers? Are there any concerns for grower that have had their sunflowers sitting in the soil?

Emergence can vary from field to field and hybrid to hybrid, but typically it takes 206 GDD for a sunflower plant to emerge. Sunflowers can be planted in soils as cool as 45 degrees Fahrenheit (7 degrees Celsius), but won’t germinate until the soil nears 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

For more information on sunflower GDD and how to calculate go to

If you are able to get your sunflower planted early, make sure to keep an eye on them as they start emerging to know if there should be any potential stand concerns. Seed treatments, like the new Plenaris®, can help with issues such as downy mildew. Besides fungal pathogens, there are still other concerns that may arise. Cutworms, wireworms and soil crusting are just some examples that can contribute to stand loss. It is also to make sure to keep post emergent weeds under control.