Thursday, February 1, 2007

Stratification And Scarification-GardeningTerms Hacked

Two terms that sometimes confuse people who are new to gardening and even some old timers are Seed Stratification and Seed Scarification. The words look similar and sometimes one word is used when you really intended to use the other.

Seed Stratification-simply put, is a cold moist period a seed needs in order to germinate. Some seeds cannot germinate immediately after being collected and need to go through a stratification period. You can stratify seeds in two ways; one is to build yourself a seed starter greenhouse using plastic soda bottles during the cold winter months and allow nature to do it's thing. You can place the seeds in moist peat or sand in the refrigerator using a (sandwich bag) for a period of about 3-6 weeks at about 42F and try to simulate nature this way if you can't do it outdoors. During this period make sure to keep the seeds moist because water an integral part to seed germination. Some seeds require a period of cold followed by a period of warmth then another period of cold before they will germinate. Either way is a good Do-It-Yourself method of seed starting when your seeds need a stratifying. This is a popular method people use to start apple seeds.

Seed Scarification- simply put, is the breaking or penetrating of the outer seed layer. Nature have developed many methods to accomplish this task. Sometimes seeds need to pass through the digestive track of an animal before they will break dormancy or be exposed to fluctuations in temperature or exposed to gases. Growers and some serious gardeners may use acids to get the seeds to germinate but that can be dangerous. You can accomplish the same thing by rubbing the hard seed coat with a file or sandpaper. I got past the hard seed coat of several Cannas last spring by boiling water and dropping the seeds in allowing them to soak until they absorbed water and swelled. Once you've scarified a seed it will need to be soaked in water from anywhere from a couple of hours to overnight before you sow them.

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