Frost Dates: First and last frost dates for Rochester, Minnesota

How to read these charts for the fall
As your growing season comes to an end, the nightly temperatures for Rochester, Minnesota start to go down, and therefore every day that goes by increases the chance that you'll get frost. Your risk of frost really begins around September 19, and by October 11 you're almost certain to have received at least one frost event.

The charts on this page show the probabilities of receiving a certain temperature on a certain day. Some examples that might help:

  1. You have a small 20% chance of getting 32° by September 24.
  2. There is a 50% chance of being hit by a 32° frost starting around October 2
  3. You have a 80% chance of seeing 32° by October 11
  4. Said another way, you have a 1 in 5 chance at making it to that day without a 32° night.
In the Fall
Temperature 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90%
First 16° Oct 27 Nov 1 Nov 4 Nov 7 Nov 10 Nov 13 Nov 16 Nov 20 Nov 25
First 20° Oct 16 Oct 22 Oct 25 Oct 28 Oct 31 Nov 3 Nov 7 Nov 10 Nov 15
First 24° Oct 8 Oct 13 Oct 17 Oct 21 Oct 24 Oct 27 Oct 31 Nov 4 Nov 9
First 28° Sep 25 Sep 30 Oct 4 Oct 7 Oct 10 Oct 13 Oct 17 Oct 20 Oct 26
First 32° Sep 19 Sep 24 Sep 27 Sep 30 Oct 2 Oct 5 Oct 8 Oct 11 Oct 15
First 36° Sep 13 Sep 16 Sep 18 Sep 20 Sep 22 Sep 24 Sep 26 Sep 28 Oct 2

How to read these charts for the spring
As the growing season approaches, the days get longer, the weather begins to warm up, and the nights start being less cold. You're still getting frost, but the chance of nightly frosts gets less and less with each passing day. Eventually, the frost stops, and this is when your tender plants are fully safe. So, how do you plan for this? The probabilities on this page help you assess your risk of frost on any given day.

What's a safe temperature for tender plants? When the nightly temperature falls, frost can form, even above 32°, because the air is colder high above the ground and the frost can form up there and then fall down onto your garden and do some damage, even if it's 36° on the ground. So many factors come into play, including wind, concrete, houses, trees and other structures, etc etc etc. Because of all this, you might want to consider 36° as "the danger zone".

In your average springtime, you have a 90% chance that there will be no 36° nights by June 2. In other words, you can pretty much count on being safe from frost by that day. But we want to get those tomatoes in the ground as soon as possible, right? We see that there's still an 80% chance of 36° on May 4, so we don't dare plant that early. We wait a few days and by May 15 we are at the 50/50 point. At this point, we are close and we can start watching the weather forecast. If the upcoming week's forecast doesn't show below 40°, then it's probably okay to risk planting out your plants. If conditions change and a surprise frost does threaten, there's always things you can do to protect plants from frost.

In the Spring
Temperature 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90%
Last 16° Apr 11 Apr 5 Apr 2 Mar 29 Mar 27 Mar 24 Mar 20 Mar 17 Mar 11
Last 20° Apr 16 Apr 11 Apr 8 Apr 5 Apr 2 Mar 30 Mar 27 Mar 24 Mar 19
Last 24° Apr 21 Apr 17 Apr 13 Apr 11 Apr 8 Apr 5 Apr 3 Mar 30 Mar 26
Last 28° May 4 Apr 29 Apr 25 Apr 21 Apr 18 Apr 14 Apr 11 Apr 7 Apr 1
Last 32° May 16 May 11 May 8 May 6 May 3 Apr 30 Apr 28 Apr 25 Apr 20
Last 36° Jun 2 May 27 May 22 May 19 May 15 May 12 May 8 May 4 Apr 28

Now that you know your frost dates, use our Garden Planting Calendar for Rochester, Minnesota to know when to sow and transplant your various vegetable plants!

Data is provided by the NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information. Photography by member TBGDN.

Sponsored by Victory Seed Company
Victory Seed Company The Victory Seed Company is family owned and operated, working to help fellow gardeners succeed by selling popular vegetable, herb and flower seeds. Since the 1990s they have been heavily involved with the preservation of rare, open-pollinated, heirloom seeds. Visit them at
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