How to Use Scarification on Your Seeds

Sometimes, to get more consistent results when planting seeds, you must use scarification on them. This is a process or breaking or reducing the coat on the seed so that it can be penetrated with moisture and the embryo can start the process of germination. If you have a seat with the dense or hard shell, scarification is often required. The seeds of a lot of trees do not need scarification, and when they do, a simple water soak is the most common treatment.


When a seat has a hard coat there are a few ways that it can be broken down. Below are the methods and how they are done.


  1. Water soak: simply places seeds and water and allow them to soak for 6 to 24 hours. This is normally done with water that is room temperature. Glass containers are best used for this method. Only use hot water if required per the instructions.
  2. Mechanical/physical: for this method, you will need to rub the outer layer of the seed with a small file or sandpaper to reduce the density of its, thus allowing more moisture to penetrate and reach the embryo. You must be careful to not damage the embryo in this process.
  3. Chemical wash: this method is normally only used by commercial growers and not for home gardening. The basic guidelines for this are as follows:
    1. Always wear goggles and gloves, as well as other protective clothing. If any of the chemicals spill on your skin, was immediately.
    2. Find a large glass jar to use
    3. Put seeds in the jar
    4. Add a concentrated sulphuric acid that is around two times as much as the seeds volume
    5. Stir well with a glass rod
    6. Check the seeds periodically for the thickness of the coat by pulling out a few seeds and cutting them in half.
    7. After the seeds are finished soaking, rinse them well with cold water
    8. Spread the seeds out well on paper and let them dry to room temperature.


Only use scarification if the seed packet says it is required. Otherwise, the natural method should work just fine for your seeds to germinate.

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