Weed seeds can survive in the soil for years before they germinate and grow. If you are a regular weed user and live in a US state where it is legal, chances are you have already tried your hand at growing your weed. If you haven’t tried it yet, well, there is a lot to learn. Growing cannabis is tricky even for experienced growers. It all starts with the cannabis seed. If the seed you plant is When it comes to growing your own cannabis, there’s a lot to learn. You’ll pick up most of the information as you go. One of the most common questions for…
How long do weed seeds survive in the soil?
CORVALLIS – Weed seeds can survive in the soil for years before they germinate and grow, according to Jed Colquhoun, weed specialist with the Oregon State University Extension Service.
Why should home gardeners care?
“If you combine the longevity of seeds in the soil with the fact that weeds such as common lambsquarters can produce over 500,000 seeds per plant, the incentive to hand weed your garden becomes much greater,” said Colquhoun.
“Prevention is the most effective form of weed control,” he said.
Here are some basics on weed seed biology:
Undisturbed weed seeds tend to persist longer than seeds subjected to periodic tillage. Weed seeds in deeply worked soil tend to last longer than seeds in shallowly worked soil. Seeds deep in the soil are “stored” below the germination zone.
Grass seeds tend to be less persistent than broadleaf weed seeds.
The number of surviving seeds of most weed species declines rapidly the first year. But thereafter the rate of weed seed decline slows. Some seeds can persist for decades.
As many as 130 million seeds per plow acre were found in a Minnesota study.
Different species of weeds have seeds that last varying numbers of years in the soil. The scientific literature provides some information about seed longevity, including:
- Brome grass seed seldom lasts more than two years.
- Annual ryegrass – up to nine years.
- Perennial ryegrass – up to three years.
- Annual bluegrass – up to about five years.
- Wild oats – three to six years, but longer in deep soil.
- Jointed goatgrass – three to five-and-a-half years.
- Barnyardgrass – up to 13 years.
- Quackgrass – up to four years.
- Common velvetgrass – 10 years or more.
- Mustards – are long lived. Seeds excavated from a monastery in Denmark were dated to be 600 years old and 11 of them germinated. More commonly, mustard seeds last for decades.
- Lambsquarters – may last up to four decades.
- Russian thistle (tumbleweed) – short lived, most live only a year.
- Wild carrot – several years.
- Curly dock – more than a decade.
- Canada thistle – more than two decades.
- Field bindweed – more than 50 years.
- Leafy spurge – at least a few years.
- Common groundsel – most die within a year.
Scientists found lotus seeds in Manchuria that germinated after over 1,000 years, said Colquhoun.
How Long Do Cannabis Seeds Last In Storage?
If you are a regular weed user and live in a US state where it is legal, chances are you have already tried your hand at growing your weed. If you haven’t tried it yet, well, there is a lot to learn.
Growing cannabis is tricky even for experienced growers. It all starts with the cannabis seed. If the seed you plant is no good, then you won’t get a plant at all. If you plant a seed of poor quality, then your plant will likely be of poor quality too.
If you want your cannabis plants to be healthy and potent, then the seeds your start with need to be healthy and from a good strain of cannabis.
Some people that grow their cannabis prefer to purchase their seed online, while other growers prefer to save and store seeds from their plants. How cannabis seeds are stored for later use is of the utmost importance.
How Can I Tell If Cannabis Seeds Are Good?
If you are going to go to the trouble of storing cannabis seed long-term, then you want to make sure you are storing only good seeds. After all, what would be the point in storing bad seeds? Most of the time you can tell a good quality of a cannabis seed by the way it looks.
Healthy cannabis seeds will have darker shades of gray and black on the outer shell. These darker colors can also signify genetically superior seeds.
Healthy seeds should also be firm to the touch and have a glossy and wax-like look to the shell. If you roll the seed between your thumb and index finger and it feels firm, then it should be a good seed to plant and should store well in the right conditions.
Effects Of Humidity On Cannabis Seeds
How you store your cannabis seeds works in much the same way as when you store your cannabis. Humidity can play a huge factor in how well your seeds stay preserved and for how long. In fact, humidity plays a major role in the entire lifecycle of the cannabis plant, from seed to storage of the finished flower, and ending in consumption. We even have a guide to rehydrate your cannabis if you fail to keep it moist enough and even have information on freezing your cannabis, which can cause mold issues quickly. But I digress.
Too much humidity can cause seeds to become soft and mushy or germinate. If there is no humidity at all, they can become dry and brittle and crack open.
Cannabis seeds store ideally at 20% to 30% humidity. If the humidity level is higher at 40% to 60% humidity, they will likely germinate. At 80% to 100% humidity, they will drown and wilt in as little as 12 hours.
If the humidity level falls below 20%, the seed may heat up and sweat, develop fungi on the outside as well as the inside. At the lowest humidity level of 10% or less, the seeds can attract insects or pests.
Best Storage Methods For Cannabis Seeds
Keeping your cannabis seeds cool and dry at a consistent temperature and humidity level is essential. First, you need to pick your storage container. It should be air-tight and keep out UV light if possible.
It can be a glass container with a sealing lid. Ziplock baggies are alright to store seeds in if you do your best to remove as much air as possible.
Storing your seeds in a cupboard or closet shelf is fine for short-term storage. Never store your seeds outside in a garage or shed because the constant temperature changes of day temps and cooler night temps will not be good for them.
For more long-term storage, you can always refrigerate your seeds. The refrigerator will keep the seeds at a cool, constant temperature.
Refrigeration can preserve your seeds for several years or more, but it is probably best to use them before this amount of time goes by. Freezing your seeds is possible, but necessary.
How Long Do Cannabis Seeds Last?
When it comes to growing your own cannabis, there’s a lot to learn. You’ll pick up most of the information as you go. One of the most common questions for growers is “how long do cannabis seeds last?” The answer is not always clear.
Cannabis seeds will last longer if they’re stored properly out of harm’s way. If you don’t know the best way to store your seeds, read on. We’ll answer “how long do cannabis seeds last” and give you some tips for getting the most out of your seeds.
Keep in mind that there is no concrete answer for how long cannabis seeds will last. In fact, the only guarantee is that it depends on many things. Storage, the specific strain, and other factors will affect the lifespan of your seeds.
Marijuana seeds last the longest in the refrigerator
As with many things related to growing cannabis, there is some debate about the best ways to store seeds. There is also plenty of debate surrounding how long they will last in any given storage space.
Leafly says that seeds must be properly stored to prevent mold or pathogens from spoiling them. They should be stored in a cool, dark place and can be used within 16 months. If you’ll be waiting longer than 16 months, it’s best to put them in the freezer to use in the future.
However, some suggest that seeds can last for years when stored in a cool, dark place. Like we said, there is plenty of debate surrounding best practices for growing weed. If you have stored your seeds in a cool, dark place for a long time, examine them thoroughly and be cautious. Expect to lose more seeds as time goes on, though. The longer they sit in storage, the more likely it is that some won’t germinate.
So, to be on the safe side, it’s best to refrigerate or freeze your seeds for long-term storage.
If they’re not stored in a cool, dark place, and are instead stored in regular conditions, they will last significantly less time. Some sources suggest they will only last a few months in regular conditions. If you don’t plan to use your seeds in the near future, it’s best to store them somewhere cool and dark to prevent pathogens and mold.
As a general rule, try to use your cannabis seeds within the first three years of obtaining them. Five years is considered very old for seeds. The quicker you can germinate and use your seeds, the better. In fact, the longer you wait, the less likely it is that the seeds will germinate at all.
What factors affect cannabis seed longevity?
First of all, try to keep your seeds in their original packaging if possible. This will prevent them from being exposed to light or other no-nos. If they’re already out of the packaging, that’s okay. Keep them in a sealed container, in a dark, cool place. Or sealed in the refrigerator or freezer.
It’s not necessary to freeze your seeds, but some people prefer to freeze them instead of refrigerate them. If you don’t open your freezer as often as you open your fridge, it may be logical to freeze them instead. This will prevent frequent temperature changes and potential light exposure.
Additionally, too much or too little humidity and the presence of oxygen can also affect the longevity of your seeds. Keep ‘em cool. Keep ‘em dark.
And don’t forget genetics and quality. Some seeds will just fare better than others because they are higher quality and more durable.
What happens when cannabis seeds are stored improperly?
If seeds are exposed to light or rapid temperature change, this can trigger a number of events that will damage their longevity.
First, it can trigger them to use up their nutrient stores before they should be used. This means when it’s time to germinate, they won’t have enough nutrients. Exposure to high humidity can trigger fungi growth.
Here’s some more information about how humidity can affect cannabis seeds, courtesy of Royal Queen Seeds.
If the storage space has an 8-9% level of humidity, it may eventually attract pests and insects. Once it hits 12-14% humidity, it’s possible for fungi to grow inside and outside of your seeds.
When humidity levels reach higher levels, around 18-20% humidity, the seeds will begin to sweat. Once you’ve reached 20-30% humidity, it’s a good idea to store your seeds. Around 40-60% humidity will lead to germination. You don’t want this if you’re not using your seeds yet. And finally, 80-100% humidity will cause seeds to drown and wilt in less than a day.
Best practices for storing your cannabis seeds
If you don’t plan to wait a long time, you can store your seeds in a cool, dark place. However, if you want to be extra certain they will survive, refrigerate or freeze them.
When you refrigerate or freeze your seeds, you need to protect them from your regular use. You don’t want your seeds getting exposed to light and temperature changes on a regular basis because they’re in your fridge. So, store them in the device you use less often (or better, a second fridge you rarely use) to prevent frequent temperature changes.
The best way to store them in a refrigerator or freezer to keep them in a nice, airtight container. Ziplock bags are a good choice because you can squeeze most of the air out and create a tight seal over your seeds. But don’t stop at the bags. Once you’ve sealed them in a ziplock bag, you’ll need to put it inside a darker bag or container. This will prevent deterioration from light every time you use your fridge.
It is possible to expose your seeds to excess moisture if they’re improperly stored in the refrigerator or freezer. If you don’t plan to leave them for long, you can skip the fridge and store them in a dark, cool zone. But if you do use the refrigerator to store cannabis seeds and want to make sure they don’t get too much moisture, you could add a little bit of uncooked rice to their container. Some growers suggest this will absorb excess moisture and prevent the seeds from deteriorating.
As with many things cannabis and gardening, different people like to use different methods. What works for you may not be someone else’s cup of tea.
But when it comes to storing seeds, you need to be careful. It’s crucial to keep them in an environment that prevents them from getting damaged and losing their ability to germinate.
The best way to store your seeds will depend on many factors. Assess how long you plan to leave them for, the quality of the seeds, and the storage spaces you have available before deciding how to store them. And good luck!
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