Scuffing Marijuana Seeds

Rambo November 25, 2011 10
Scuffing Marijuana Seeds

Are you having problems germinating marijuana seeds? Some seeds can be stubborn as hell, but by scuffing marijuana seeds you can increase your germination rates to 100%.

Most healthy marijuana seeds will germinate just fine if planted in rockwool or the correct soil and then provided the correct amount of water, warmth, and air. Unfortunately this isn’t always enough to get your prized seeds to do their thing. In order for a marijuana seed to germinate, water must seep past the hard outer shell to begin the hormonal changes in the seed’s embryo that tell it to wake up and get to work.

There are a number of reasons why the water may have trouble soaking through to an otherwise viable seed embryo. Some hybridized marijuana seeds have abnormally thick shells, others may have a layer of oil from your fingertips preventing water penetration. It is also common for older seeds or seeds that have been stored improperly to require more water than can seep through the seeds shell naturally. Whatever the case may be, scuffing marijuana seeds can give you another shot at seeds that didn’t germinate by traditional methods.

How to Scuff Marijuana Seeds

The plan is to use sandpaper to create small scratches in the outer layer of the shell that will allow more water to seep through to the embryo. You don’t want to sand all the way through the seeds shell, only to create scratches in the outermost layers. The exact grit of the sand paper doesn’t matter all that much but something between 60 and 200 grit should work fine.

If sandpaper is as foreign to you as the Lunar Lander, then it may be helpful to know that grit is measured by the number of grit particles that fit in a square inch. Therefore the lower the grit number, the rougher the sandpaper.

Sandpaper typically comes in sheets about the same size as printer paper, but for scuffing marijuana seeds you only need a quarter of a sheet. Fold the sandpaper in half in one direction and then back again the other direction along the same crease. Repeating this fold several times will weaken the sandpaper at the crease and make it easy to tear in a straight line. You could, of course, use scissors, but why dull a good pair? Take the half sheet and fold it in half again repeating the tear so that you have one quarter of a sheet of sandpaper. Making sure the gritted side faces in, roll the sandpaper into a tube with a diameter no greater than your thumb and middle finger can cover. Place a piece of tape on the seam to prevent the sandpaper from unrolling.

The seeds need to be dry to the touch but you don’t want them dried out in case some moisture has already penetrated the shell and the germination process has actually begun. Place your thumb over one end and pour in your seeds, then place your middle finger over the other end. Now hold the tube horizontally and shake back and forth so that the seeds contact the grit of the sandpaper. It won’t take much, so 20 vigorous shakes should do the trick. Remove the seeds and blow away any loose dust.

Congratulations, you’ve just scuffed marijuana seeds. With any luck, all of them will now germinate. If you have questions about the best way to proceed with germination after scuffing, check out this article on Germinating Marijuana Seeds.

Alternate Seed Scuffing Methods

In preparation for writing this article, I spoke to a number of other growers whom I know to see if they had any of their own unique methods for scuffing marijuana seeds. In doing so, a few alternate methods came up that also work for scuffing seeds but with varying degrees of effectiveness.

You can slide that same tube of rolled up sandpaper into a pill bottle, add seeds and shake.

  • Pro: No Tape needed and possibly less spilled seeds if your fingers come off the ends.
  • Con: You need a pill bottle.

You can add seeds and clean sand to a canning jar and shake.

  • Pro: You don’t need sandpaper
  • Con: You have to sift through the sand to get your seeds out, and it takes a lot more shaking to get noticeable scratches. It just doesn’t work as well.

You can place sand or sandpaper on a table (sandpaper grit up) place seeds on top and rub the seeds around with your hand.

  • Pro: you can closely monitor the amount of scratches
  • Con: If you are pushing too hard it’s easy to overdo the scuffing.

You can individually scuff each seed by holding it in your hand and scuffing it with an emery board.

  • Pro: You can make sure each seed is well scuffed
  • Con: Marijuana seeds are small and hard to hold onto. If you have a lot of seeds this is going to take forever.

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  1. ryan May 18, 2012 at 4:31 pm -

    After scuffing weed seeds I put them in water for 24hrs 1 seed cracked my question is can a weed seed grow if u take the embryo out of the seed & place it in the soil I have a reason I did that but its a long story

  2. Rambo May 18, 2012 at 5:05 pm -

    As a general rule, you should never try to open the seed shell or extract the “embryo” from the seed casing. The embryo is extremely delicate and even the most dexterous fingers can easily damage a young seedling. The only time I might advice this is after the see has sprouted and grown out of the soil. Under some circumstances you can remove the seed hull from a leafs once they have sprouted. This will happen on its own 99% of the time so there is no rush to assist a seedling.

  3. sam March 23, 2013 at 10:07 pm -

    So I put them in water for 24-48 hours and I dropped them in rockwool ph’d and everything. The cracks were small and i had to drop them in the rockwool hole (rockwool came with holes already) but I am not sure if they are facing the right way. Will they still grow properly if I put them upside down or sideways in rockwool? Many thanks

    • Rambo March 25, 2013 at 8:59 pm -

      They will sprout either way, but without some resistance from the growing medium in those open holes your seen casing my not come off as easily, also light and air may be damaging the fragile root if it is not covered. This is why I don’t like planting seeds in rockwool.

      • razbongstead January 7, 2014 at 8:46 am -

        Rambo if you don’t like to use rockwool for seedlings, what is your advice on what to use. I got a idea but just want to see what you suggest first many thanks

  4. dodgerlover11 April 18, 2013 at 1:06 pm -

    I am going to try this method on some 4 year old seeds that I have. I want to grow them so bad. I have tried placing them in a flower pot. I waited 2 weeks n nothing. I tried some other seeds I had , I put them in one of those plastic green houses, that did not work. And now with about 5 seeds I am trying the paper towel method. Its been 4 days and nothing. Any suggestions. Can I try the sandpaper method on the seeds I have in the paper towels. I have a few seeds left that I have tried anything with. Any suggestions before I try something.

  5. Poe September 29, 2013 at 2:16 pm -

    So i recently found a seed from a plant that was supposed to be feminized, while breaking a recently dried bud down. Its only been about two days since coming off of the plant and my thumb nail went right through the seed and split it in half. i was so surprised to find the seed, so i pulled both halves out. will this seed still be good?

    • Rambo October 2, 2013 at 8:02 pm -

      if you split it in half, No

  6. Not you March 24, 2014 at 6:48 pm -

    Ok do u think it will work if I planted in a pill bottle?