Nip your seeds before soaking

Lucerne trees seeds have extremely hard seed coats and require a process called scarification to help them prepare for germination. What is scarification?

Scarification in botany involves weakening, opening, or otherwise altering the coat of a seed to encourage germination. Scarification is often done mechanically, thermally, and chemically. The seeds of many plant species are often impervious to water and gases, thus preventing or delaying germination. 


We have proven success with a 2-fold process = NIP and then SOAK.

We use nail-clippers to nip a tiny piece off the top of each seed. Just snip off a tiny sliver of the seed coat and try not to cut too deep into the seed. Especially do NOT cut the creamy, light brown bit at the bottom of the seed. This is where the seed germ will emerge with the roots and first 2 little leaves. If this part is damaged, usually the seed will not germinate.

Yes, this is a time-consuming process, but we recommend that you germinate your seeds in batches and not try to do them all at once. Alternatively, you can nip them in small batches over a few days, storing them sealed and kept in a dry, cool, dark place and then soak them all together to begin the actual germination process. Once the seed coat has been nipped, it is vulnerable, whereas untreated seeds can be safely stored as described for several years.

Next comes the soaking process. We have done trials regularly and can see the huge difference between seeds that were nipped and then soaked and those that are only soaked. Please do not cook your seeds by using boiling water! Hot tap water is good, but boiling water may kill the seed germ.

Wait for the soil temperatures to rise before starting your germination process. When the soil is too cold, your seeds will remain dormant in the ground. You could start germination earlier if you germinate your seeds indoors in trays under grow lights for warmth.

We want you to have real success in your germination process. You can read and download our germination process and step-by-step instructions on our Seeds page. We provide these instructions with your seeds when you order. Place your order today by filling out the contact form on our Orders page.

Happy Farming!

Seedlings available!

Spring has sprung and our lucerne tree nursery is bursting with freshly potted new lucerne tree seedlings and trees!

We have potted out small lucerne trees in individual 1-litre potting bags to grow to 30-40cm in their bags before being planted out, and we have seedlings in their nifty tube-packs ready to be couriered to clients all across South Africa at very economical rates due to their low volumetric weight.

These tube-packed trees need to be transplanted into 1-litre potting bags once they arrive, and so we recommend clients have their potting bags and well-drained soil mix in place before they order their little trees. They will need about 3-4 months to grow up to 30-40cm tall and then they can be planted in summer this year.

Because lucerne trees’ roots grow so fast, these trees in tube-packs have a very limited time before they need to be transplanted into bigger potting bags. We therefore have limited stocks in season and will place any unclaimed or unsold tube-pack trees into potting bags after about 1 month.

Now is the perfect time to order your trees. Fill in the contact form on our Orders page, and we will send you all the information and details you need to start your lucerne tree farming.

Ordering and Covid-19 Restrictions

We are taking orders and we are delivering lucerne trees and seeds using PostNet, door-to-door courier services or registered mail to South African clients and lucerne tree seeds (not trees due to import regulations) with registered mail to international countries.

Please note that registered mail deliveries to international countries may take slightly longer than normal to arrive due to international mail hub backlogs caused by Covid-19 restrictions.  

Keep safe and healthy!

Trees in Tubes ~ Transplant Successfully!

We have created new tube packaging to make transplanting young lucerne trees couriered across South Africa much more successful.  Please read our updated transplant recommendations below.

Little lucerne tree seedlings ready to be potted into 1-litre potting bags

These little seedlings have been germinated and immediately potted into their tubes with our potting soil.  When they are about 6cm-10cm tall, they are strong enough to be transported.  Each little tree in its soil weighs about 150 grams, making courier costs far less expensive.

This tube method is far more successful than couriering bare-rooted trees as we have done previously. The soil in the tubes means that we do not disturb the roots by putting them into bare-rooted packaging. Our clients can transplant them with all their soil on their roots directly into potting bags, also preventing any disturbance to the trees’ roots. As these little trees have been growing in their tubes, there is no immediate rush to transplant them, however, they should be watered and kept protected until ready to transplant into potting bags.

When transplanting these little trees into potting bags, you will need ~20200207_085847

  1. a Stanley knife or sharp blade to cut open the tube plastic packaging.
  2. 1-litre potting bags – taller rather than wider bags – empty
  3. Mix of well-drained potting soil & sand with no compost or manure.

The goal of transplanting successfully is not to disturb the roots or expose them to air or drying out. 

How to transplant your trees into their potting bags UPDATED ~ Note that we recommend you rather put your seedling into an empty potting bag and then fill it with soil around the plant because some clients have found that squeezing the tube-pack soil into the hole disturbed the soil around the roots of the seedling.


  1. First, ensure that all the soil in the tube packaging is wet and well-watered before you start.
  2. Now lay your seedlings in tubes flat and slice each tube package along the length of the plastic .
  3. Carefully lift the tree with all the soil still clumped around the roots out of the packaging.  When the soil is moist it will stay clumped around the roots.  Do not shake or break the soil off the roots.
  4. Place the seedling with all its soil around its roots into the empty potting bag and gently add potting soil around the roots and up to the tree’s stem.
  5. Firm the soil around the transplanted tree making sure that there are no air gaps in the soil.
  6. Water the soil in the potting bags very well. Check regularly by sticking your finger into the potting bag to feel if the soil is damp and water lightly when needed.  Do not over-water your seedlings.

These little lucerne trees are still too small to go directly into your lands.  They should be potted into their 1-litre bags to grow out to at least 30cm tall saplings before being planted into your lands.  These potted trees will settle in well over winter if kept in a sheltered spot where they are protected from any frosts and icy winds. An area covered with some shade cloth will be perfect.

Please fill in the contact form on our Orders page and we will email you a quote or invoice or answer any questions you may have.

Keep safe and healthy during the lockdown.

New Seedlings Growing!


Spring has sprung and new life is budding and shooting out everywhere on our farm.


Our new lucerne tree seedlings, slowly hanging on through winter, have woken to the warmer weather and are shooting up at a remarkable rate!


For clients who have placed orders and paid their 50% deposit, we will soon carefully pot your trees into their individual potting bags and they should be ready to be delivered or collected at the end of October.


We have several clients requesting trees be sent across borders to international countries, but due to strict bio-security import laws, this is not permitted.  Clients should purchase seeds instead.

We have excellent lucerne tree seeds in stock.  Our seeds are packed in packs of 100‘s and 1000‘s.  Included in the seed pack are detailed germination instructions that we successfully use ourselves and more than 10% extra seeds.  We post the seeds all over the world, undeclared, with registered mail and then email the client the tracking number.

How to order seeds ~

Click over to the contact form on our Prices & Orders page and tell us how many seeds you wish to order and include your full names, full postal address and your contact number details.  We will email you an invoice with our banking and/or PayPal details.  Please check that your contact information is correct on this invoice as we will not refund seeds uncollected or returned from the post office. Once we receive your emailed payment confirmation with your invoice number as your payment referencewe will post your seeds and email you the tracking number.

To South Africans, please order your trees before stocks are sold out.

Some good reminders ~

  • Remember that you should hold your seedlings in a nursery until they are 40cm tall and have a woody, pencil-thick stem before planting them out.
  • Carefully manage your young trees as if you were farming a new fruit orchard, checking regularly for pests or critters that may snack on your trees while you are sleeping!
  • Provide regular water.  Drippers work very well and are a very economic water user. See irrigation methods here.
  • Once established, remember to nip the growth tips of your saplings to promote better side-branching.  You can simply use your finger nails and pinch off the top 3 leaves or, as in our closely packed nursery, use hedge-clippers and snip off their tops.  See photos of pruned trees here.

Wishing you very happy farming!