Lucerne tree seeds are naturally very hard-shelled seeds and require a process called scarification to encourage germination. Up till now we have only soaked the seeds, but to encourage much better germination results, we now recommend you nick or cut the edge of each seed before soaking.
We nick (cut) the edge of the seed with a clipper or sharp blade and then soak the seeds in hot tap water overnight to weaken the hard seed coat of the seed to encourage germination.
Watch a video on how to nick the seed coat ~ https://youtu.be/H0mfi5NyvVI
Here are our updated germination instructions ~
Only start the germination process when you are ready to plant your seeds into seed trays or potting bags. Work with batches of + 100 seeds at a time.
- Nick the edge of each seed with a nail clipper or sharp blade. Only cut off the edge of the seed coat and do not cut into the seed itself. Do not cut the the white germ edge.
- Soak the cut seeds in a bowl filled with hot tap water overnight.
- Plant out the swollen seeds the next day in seed trays or potting bags filled with coarse river sand. Do NOT use potting soil.
- Use a stick & make rows roughly 5mm (0.5cm) deep and place the seeds in these rows & cover lightly with sand. Seeds planted too deep do not germinate easily!
- Water lightly regularly & do not to let the soil dry out.
- Seeds usually germinate within 15 days.
- Wait at least 40 days for maximum germination before potting out seedlings into individual 1-litre potting bags. Use a mix of coarse sand and potting soil.
- Dig deep under the seedlings to loosen the soil and gently lift each seedling out of the potting soil. Do not pull the seedlings up from the tray as this will damage the roots.
- Wait till these potted trees are at least 40cm tall with pencil-thick stems before planting them out in your lands. This can take about 4 months.
- Keep watering the remaining germination sand because the slower seeds may still germinate!
Download these germination instructions ~ Germination Instructions 2018
Life is in the seed!