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Seed pretreatment of hard-seeded species (Scarification)

Examples: Broom, gorse, false-acacia, laburnum, tree lupin

Tropical legume trees – Acacia species, Leucaena leucocephala


All these seeds possess a thick, impermeable seed-coat which prevents or significantly retards germination. Pretreatment consists of removing, puncturing, abrading, splitting, burning or softening the hard seed-coat – without damaging the embryo within. These are the only tree seeds which do not need to be moist to respond to pretreatment.

Pretreatment methods before sowing


spre_chipping.jpgHold seed down with an eraser. Use sharp knife / scalpel to chip away small section of seed coat without cutting embryo. Wear safety spectacles.

Boiling / hot water

spre boiling

Pour 3 to 10 volumes of boiling / hot water on 1 volume of seeds. Allow seeds and water to cool for 18-24 hours.


spre abrasion

Use abrasive paper to remove a small section of the seed-coat.


spre burning

Make a small hole in the seedcoat with a soldering iron or a hot instrument taken from a fire.

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