Scarify seeds: a method for accelerating germination

Scarify seeds a method for accelerating germination
Scarify seeds a method for accelerating germination

Everyone who grows plants from seeds knows that many seeds need to be prepared before they can germinate successfully.

As it happens, in our climate (with frosts in winter), nature itself provides various protective mechanisms to ensure that plants germinate from seeds during the warm spring months, which are beneficial for their lives. The hard seed coat is one of the natural barriers that regulate the germination time of the seeds.

Artificial Scarify seeds are a way to remove this barrier according to the gardener’s wishes. How to do this correctly and why I will tell in this material.


Regarding one of the options for natural protection of seeds from premature germination – the presence of special substances in the seeds that inhibit development – we talk in our material about six rules for seed stratification in home conditions. To get these substances to break down, you need cold temperatures, moisture, and time.

But there is also a protective mechanism. The seeds of some plants are deprived of their dormant state and can germinate immediately after the fruit ripens, that is, in autumn. From nature’s point of view, this is unacceptable, because a frosty winter lies ahead and the seedlings will inevitably die.

That is why some of them are equipped with thick, tough, and above all moisture-proof shells. Such seeds lie on the ground or on the soil surface throughout the winter, exposed to cold and moisture.

Gradually, the shell begins to “soften” and at some point breaks down (more along the seams). Moisture begins to enter the seeds and the germination process begins. Usually, this coincides with the warm days of spring.

However, with some seeds, one winter is not enough and it may take longer to break the hard or “stony” shell as they call it (e.g. hawthorn).

But, that’s okay, we have the ability to help with such “crunch time” and speed up the process. Breaking the integrity of the seed’s hard shell is known as artificially Scarify seeds.

What are the difficulties? – The question arises. You take a hammer, hit the seed, make it crack, and plant it. In principle, you can do this, but there are more accurate and correct ways to ensure a higher rate of emergence than a large percentage of kernels and husks in the mud.


Sudden changes in low and high temperatures

We all know that when you change the temperature, the material will compress and stretch. If you do such a process suddenly and repeat it several times, you will destroy the integrity of the shell, which is exactly what we need.

In fact, it looks like this. Place the seeds in a bag made of loose cloth (gauze, bandages) and place them in boiling water for a few seconds (no more than 30 seconds), then immediately into a container with a mixture of water and ice.

After doing this cycle 3-5 times, the seeds are examined. If some of them have visible shell damage, they are discarded, and the rest continue with the soaking procedure. The main thing here is to concentrate and not overdo it. If the shell has opened and you immerse the seed in boiling water, it will also die.

Effects of chemicals

It is well known that the seeds of many plants are eaten by animals and birds, but even if they enter the digestive tract, they cannot be digested due to their hard shell and are returned to nature.

At the same time, however, they are exposed to digestive juices, or simply put acids. Even a brief exposure to them breaks the tight shell. How do you do this in practice?

Pour 3% hydrochloric or sulfuric acid into a glass dish (bowl, wide glass). (Be careful and wear rubber gloves, preferably – also goggles). The seeds are gently immersed in the acid and kept for no more than 12 hours (like in the stomach of an animal).

The seeds are then carefully removed and thoroughly washed under running water to remove all acidic residues. This method is good, but it requires some skill and accuracy in handling chemicals, so it is not for everyone. But the following method of manually Scarify seeds is easy for everyone to master.

Physical destruction of the seed coat of the seed

No, this is not a hammer, as you might expect, although in skilled hands it can become the same kind of scraper. All of this must also be done carefully, and there is no need (or even desire) to make holes in the outer shell. It is only necessary to make it thin enough to make it possible for water to penetrate quickly inside the seeds.

In fact, there are several options, and they depend on the size of the seed itself. Larger seeds can be rubbed with a file, sandpaper, or even a nail file, scraped with an awl or needle, or scraped a bit with a sharp knife or scalpel. In industrial plant and seed production, special machines – seed removal machines – are used.

But what about the small ones? It is impossible to hold them with your fingers and work on the macadam. But you can try rubbing a little in the sand, pouring them into a thick bag or into a jar. Seeds with sand in the bag are simply rubbed on the table, while seeds poured into a jar are shaken.


Regardless of which method of Scarify seeds you choose, there are a few nuances inherent in absolutely all methods.

  1. You don’t need to completely destroy the shell, just destroy it, and then the water will find the seeds and they will do their job together.
  2. The seeds you buy will usually go through the necessary scarification process, which is stated on the package.
  3. If you have collected your own seeds, find out if you need them before you do anything to them, and if this will help speed up their germination?

Do these seeds need simple Scarify seeds or will Scarify seeds not help and require a long-term stratification treatment (low temperature moistening treatment)?

These are the ways people have come up with to speed up the seed germination process. All in a hurry somewhere. They want to outsmart nature. Even though nature itself has come up with these methods.

Good luck with your high quality and strong new shoots!

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

      Leave a reply

      12 + fifteen =!
      Compare items
      • Total (0)