Last Updated: January 23, 2017

Definition - What does Scarification mean?

Scarification is a process that involves the weakening or altering of a seed's coat to accelerate the process of germination. Scarification makes the seed's coat more permeable to gas and water.

Through scarification, one can facilitate the controlled and uniform germination of seed lots. This process is useful for both large-scale plant operations and for small-scale growth including personal gardens. In comparison to unaltered seeds, seeds that have gone through the scarification process germinate earlier and thus save time for the horticulturalist.

MaximumYield explains Scarification

There are different types of scarification, including:

  • Thermally, which involves soaking the seed in hot water
  • Chemically, through an acid treatment
  • Mechanically, through abrasive action where the seed is scratched

Some plants must undergo a specific type of scarification to propagate properly.

The scarification process is primarily used for seeds that have a tough husk, which if left under natural conditions would take years to germinate properly (e.g., sweet pea).

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