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Seed Scarification Speeds up Germination (compare methods)

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Published on Dec 25, 2015

Watch several different scarification methods and learn which seed is best for each method. Learn to identify the embryo end of the seed so you do not damage it during scarification.

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Seed Scarification Speeds up Germination (compare methods)

Scarification is the process of weakening the seed coat so that air and water can enter the seed more quickly, thereby speeding up germination. This pre-treatment is only required for seed that has a tough seed coat.

In this video I’ll show you several ways to scarify seed and show you how to remove the tails from seed like clematis. I’ll also show you how to avoid damaging the seed embryo while scarifying the seed. This is important because a damaged embryo will not germinate.

The best method for scarification depends on the size of the seed. A file works great for large seed. A knife and nail clippers work for medium sized seed. And sandpaper is the best method for very small seed. Lets have a look at all of these methods.

A file works well on large seed. You can use a triangular file, or a regular flat file. If you are using a flat file, hold it at an angle so that the corner is making a V shaped cut in the seed.

You can put the seed on the table, and run the file over it like this.
But I find it easier to rest the file on the table, and run the seed over the file. This way round seed is less likely to go shooting across the room.

You want the groove to be deep enough so that you can see the white inner seed, but you want to damage the inner part as little as possible.

For mid-sized seed nail clippers work quite well. Use them to chip off a small amount of the seed coat so that you can see the inner part of the seed. You can also use a utility knife, or an Exacto knife.

Take a sheet of sandpaper, and lay it flat on the table. Place the seed on top. Now take a smaller piece of sandpaper and cover the seed. Gently slide the top sheet back and forth. After a couple of passes you might need to move the seed back into a pile so you can scratch them some more.

With small seed I don’t try to scratch them enough to see the inside of the seed. Their seed coat is not very thick, and some minor scratches on the surface will usually do the trick.

Lets have a look at a seed embryo. These are peanut seeds that have been slit open. You can clearly see the embryo inside the red circle. Think of the embryo as the baby plant. It is usually small and located at the end of the seed that was attached to the mother plant. Here is a close-up of the embryo. The rest of the seed is stored food for the baby plant.

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