Above-ground seedling development was characterized for five annual grass weeds: downy brome, bulbous bluegrass, jointed goatgrass, Italian ryegrass, wild oat; and three cereals: winter wheat, winter barley, and winter triticale in field experiments over two years. The rate of leaf production on the main stem of each species was linearly related to cumulative growing degree days (GDD) since planting. Leaf production rates were faster for bulbous bluegrass, downy brome, Italian ryegrass, wild oat, and barley than for wheat, triticale, and jointed goatgrass. The main stem development stage when individual tillers appeared was similar in all species except under poor seedbed conditions in 1991, in which case lower-node tillers were delayed in the cereals and jointed goatgrass, but not in most of the weed species. Bulbous bluegrass, downy brome, and barley had the same percentage of plants produce the first four primary tillers on the main stem in both years; the other species showed more year-to-year variation. Seedling heights at full emergence were generally greater for large-seeded species. Small-seeded species compared to large-seeded species tended to have greater relative increases in plant height over time. Knowledge of comparative development rates between these weeds and cereals could provide information for development of growth models for each of the species and could also improve understanding of the competitive relationships between grass weeds and cereal grains.