Can Grass Grow in Sand? 5 Types of Grass for Sandy Soil

Sandy soil drains faster and tend to be less nutritious but that does not spell doom to your lawn vision. Some soil amendments together with the right type of grass for sandy soil will typically give you a green lush lawn in your sandy yard. Let us look at how to grow grass in sandy soil successfully.

Can Grass grow in Sand?

Sandy soil have larger sand particles that are not closely packed together like in silt or clay soil. This makes water and nutrients to drain relatively faster through the large spaces.

Sandy soil therefore, dry out quickly and does not retaining appropriate amount off moisture for seed germination and plant use.

You can successfully grow a lawn on sandy soil if you increase its moisture retention capacity and use some fertilizers. This can be done by adding compost manure or a top loamy soil. You will also be required to plant a suitable grass type for sandy soil, water as needed. A starter and slow release fertilizer will also make your grass to spread faster.

What Grass Grows in Sandy Soil?

When choosing a grass type for your sandy soil consider the climatic condition of your region. Warm season grasses thrives in warm conditions found in the southern part of the United states while cool season grasses does well in cool weather common in the northern half of the continent. The following are grasses that thrives in sandy soil.

1. Centipede grass

Centipede is a warm season grass that thrives in sandy soil. The grass requires little care and maintenance and it’s a good bet for your sandy yard. It can be grown from seed, sod or plugs. Organic or a nitrogen rich fertilizer will make it to grow faster. Centipede grass requires thorough watering during the first 2 to 3 weeks after planting and only a few times when established.

2. Bermuda grass

Bermuda is also a warm season grass that adapts well in sandy soils. It is equally resistant to cold conditions and does well in salty coastal regions. Sunlight and proper watering will make the seed to germinate and grow faster. An inch of water per week and some slow-release fertilizer will lead to a dense thick carpet of Bermuda grass on your sandy soil.

3. Tall fescue grass

Tall fescue is a cool season grass that adapts well in hot dry climates. This drought tolerant grass has a deep root system that makes it thrive in areas with low moisture. Tall fescue requires less water and nitrogen fertilizer for a high quality turf.

4. Zoysia Grass

Without proper watering and fertilizing, Zoysia grass will do well in myriad conditions including drought, shade and foot traffic. It has a well-established deep root system that makes it thrive in sandy or clay soil. This warm season grass can be propagated through seed, laying sod or inserting plugs.

5. Bahia grass

Bahia grass is a warm season grass that will spread quickly in dry infertile sandy soils. Its deep root system makes it resilient to drought and beach conditions. However, Bahia grass is very lighter in color and does not easily form a dense thick carpet. You may have to mix in other types of grass for sandy soil that grows thicker.

How to Grow Grass in Sandy Soil

Planting of grass on sandy soil can be done through seed, sod or plugs. Other sophisticate methods such as hydroseeding can also be used. For you to get a thick dense lawn on sandy soil within a short period of time, here is what to do.

1. Prepare the soil

Kill weeds using an herbicide and after a week when all the weeds are dead, gather all the trash, big rocks and other debris. Till the soil to a depth of 6 inches for proper root penetration and easy mixing of the soil with nutrients. Rake the soil again to remove large rocks and other chunks.

2. Add compost or loamy top soil

Get a well decomposed compost or manure and mix into the soil. Alternatively you can add a layer of loamy topsoil on the sand. This will make the sandy soil to retain the moisture longer for proper seed germination, nutrients absorption and overall plant growth.

3. Apply starter Fertilizer

Pour the recommended amount of starter fertilizer into a standard spreader and evenly apply it over the planting site. Work the fertilizer 4 to 6 inches into the soil before you spread the seed or sod. A starter fertilizer will enhance the growth of emerging seedlings by offering essential nutrients to the roots.

4. Start planting the grass

Spread your grass seed on the soil using a broadcaster. Add a light layer of straw mulch or chopped grass clippings to prevent loss of moisture from the soil and also to save the freshly planted seeds from high winds and hungry birds. Water the area 3-5 times a day to keep the soil moist until the seed germinate.

For plugs make appropriate holes in the soil in a checkerboard pattern. Plant the plugs or sods as you ensure proper contact with the soil. Do not leave empty pockets below the plug as this can cause poor root development or drying. Water the sods or grass plugs until they establish on the ground.

Sandy soil lawn care

During the growing season, a slow-release fertilizer each month will lead to faster spreading and growth of the grass. Do not over-fertilize as this will affect the plants as well. A yearly total of 5 pounds per 1000 square feet will be enough. Additionally keep amending the soil with compost every 3 months during the growing season, simply rake it across the lawn.

After seeding, it may take up to 2 months before the grass is ready for mowing. A sod or grass plugs may be ready within 3 to 6 weeks of planting. Mow your grass once it reaches 4 to 6 inches and only remove one-third of the height of the lawn. Weeds and pests should also be inspected on time for an appropriate treatment.


SELECTING A LAWN GRASS – Bob Polomski, PhD, Associate Extension Specialist and Debbie Shaughnessy, Former HGIC Information Specialist – Clemson University

Drought-Tolerant Lawn Grasses –

Maintaining Lawns on Sandy Soils– Zac Reicher and Clark Throssell Purdue University Turfgrass Specialists

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