Many species of grass will not grow well in sandy soil. The soil is loose, so many types of grass will have difficulties in establishing roots. It also drains quickly and may not be able to hold water and nutrients as required by some grass. So, will Bermuda grass grow in sand?
Yes, Bermuda grass thrives well in sandy soil and spread fairly fast since it prefer a well-drained soil with less water. When intending to establish a lawn near the beach, Bermuda grass is the best choice to consider. A part from sand, Bermuda grass can also grow well in other types of soil like clay.
Can you Plant Bermuda Grass in sand?
Bermuda grass is a warm-season grass that is suitable for sandy soil. It require a well-drained soil with less water. When compared to other warm-season grass, Bermuda grass thrive well to establish into a dense turf when grown in sandy soil.
While Bermuda grass can thrive in sandy soil, it may not do well in shaded area. It requires direct sunlight for at least 4 to 6 hours per day. It is a drought-resistant grass and will go dormant during winter and come back to life in spring and summer.
There are two varieties of Bermuda grass, the Riviera and Yukon. These two cultivars are both drought and cold resistance. Therefore, they can do well in the transitional zones. They germinate fast at around 7 days and take 4 to 6 weeks to achieve a full coverage of the seeded area.
What Makes Bermuda Grass Good for Sandy Soil?
Here are some of the characteristics that make Bermuda grass suitable for sandy areas.
Sandy soil is too porous and does not retain water. This means that even if you irrigate your grass daily, they will still suffer from inadequate water. Bermuda grass is drought tolerance and can thrive well in soil with les water. This characteristic make it the best choice for sandy areas.
Bermuda grass survives on less water and the roots are not damaged by the air pockets found in sand. It’s also able to come back to life after long period of dormancy due to drought.
Deep Root Structure
Bermuda grass has deep and web-like root system. The longer roots are able to get to deeper below the top sandy layer to get moisture and nutrients. Having roots with an increased surface area means that they are also able to absorb more nutrients from deep down the soil.
The long root system also help to anchor the grass properly in the unstable environment provided by the sand soil. The roots contain a horizontal growing rhizomes and stolon to increase anchorage in the sand.
Sand soil is too porous, it drains water quickly together with nutrients. This means that the grass will have less water and nutrients as well. Hardily grasses like Bermuda does not only withstand tough periods of droughts, they are also able to thrive in soil with less nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium together with other micronutrients.
Bermuda grass is resistance to some pests and diseases. Sandy soil provides favorable conditions for nematodes and other bugs that can attack your lawn. Therefore, it is ideal to choose a lawn grass that is hardy.
How to Grow Bermuda grass in Sandy Soil
Soil that is made up of 50 to 80% of sand is best for growing Bermuda grass. The soil is easy to work with, drain well and the grass is able to establish the roots properly. With sandy soil, it only require a few amendments to fully support grass growth.
Here are tips on how to grow Bermuda grass in sandy soil.
1. Get the soil tested
The first step to take when growing Bermuda grass in sandy soil is to conduct a soil test. Soil test results indicates the nutritional composition, organic matter and pH of the soil. It also provides information on the nutrients to be added and a recommendation on the proportions required.
It is important to know the nutritional value of your soil prior to sowing grass seed. It help to make the right decision when purchasing a starter fertilizer for your new lawn grass.
2. Clear and prepare the site
Once you are through with soil test, the next step is to clear and till the site. Use a machete to clear bushes on the site. Remove stones, sticks, branches, leaves and other debris from the site and till the land to a depth of 6 inches.
Perform a secondary cultivation to break large clods, fill the dips and grade the area. Be sure the site is sloping away from buildings and other structures within your compound.
3. Amend the soil
Sandy soil is usually very low in organic matter, it drain too fast and the grass may not be able to absorb water for as long as they require. Add a layer of organic matter and incorporate it into the soil up to a depth of 6 inches. Use organic matter like a well rotten homemade compost or manure.
4. Adjust the soil pH
Adjust the pH according to recommendations provided on soil test. Most lawn grass including Bermuda prefer a soil pH range of 6.0 to 6.8. Use lime or sulfur to adjust soil pH. If it’s too low, raise it using lime. On the hand, if the pH is too high, use sulfur to lower it.
5. Fertilize the soil
Fertilize the soil using a slow-release starter fertilizer to boost the initial growth. Choose a starter fertilizer that contain a higher percentage of phosphorus as compared to nitrogen and potassium. Phosphorus in essential in the initial growth to promote proper roots development.
Fertilize each month during the growing to make Bermuda spread faster. However, you are supposed to fertilize lightly. Generally, it is recommended to use 1 pound of fertilizer per 1,000 square feet of lawn. Do not over-fertilize, excess chemicals can leach through the sand particles to pollute water table.
6. Plant grass seed
You have tested the soil, prepared the land, amended the soil, adjusted the pH and fertilized the soil. Now it’s time to sow your grass seed. Rake the surface of the soil to obtain fine particles. Feed the seed into a rolling broadcast spreader. Spread the seed on the surface of the soil.
7. Apply mulch
Spread a layer of mulch on the top of the seeded lawn. Use materials like straw, grass clippings or saw dust. Mulching will help to conserve soil moisture content, prevent birds from feeding on the seeds as well as shielding the seed from the scorching effects from the sun.
8. Water the seeded lawn
Water the seeded lawn 10 to 15 minutes immediately after planting. Water daily up to a depth of 2 inches until when the seed will germinate. Water lightly so that the nutrients are not washed away from the soil.
Having sandy soil should not prevent you from having a beautiful lawn grass. In fact, sandy soil is easy to work with, drains well and promote easy establishment of roots. Increase fertility and water retention ability by incorporating fertilizer and organic matter into the soil prior to planting grass.