Updated Jan 12, 2023
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Sandy soil can cause issues for homeowners that are trying to plant grass. The proper type of grass needs to be chosen to develop a deep root system. In our guide featuring the best grass seeds for sandy soil, we will provide:
Even though sandy soil can have challenges, the proper grass species decision will get you started on the right track
There are six types of grass most commonly known for being the best option in sandy soil. However, before you plant any of these seeds, you must check your climate as well as the sun and shade mixture to make sure the seed has the best chance of survival.
Tall fescue grass is a very common and easy-to-find grass seed. Many homeowners like the tall fescue grass as it is generally considered to be low maintenance from a lawn care perspective. The temperatures do not have to be perfect for tall fescue to grow, and it can work in the shade or full sun. Tall fescue is also a smart option if you are looking for something drought-resistant.
Zoysia grass continues to grow in popularity because of its long growing season as well as its heat and traffic resistance. Zoysia grass can handle the hottest temperature and will work in the southern parts of the United States. One thing that homeowners love about Zoysia is that it makes it very difficult for weeds to grow. The grass is dense and thick, and you will have no issues getting it to fill in during the growing season.
Bahia grass is much easier to find in seed than Zoysia. It holds up well in hot climates and is very resistant to drought. The Bahia grass has a bit of a different look to it because it has broader leaves. In addition, the texture of the grass is coarse. If you are planting in sandy soil that is also directly in the sun, expect the Bahia Grass to be a great option. Of all the grass varieties, this one will not burn out on you.
Bermuda grass is lawn grass that is also often used on golf courses. The great thing about Bermuda grass is that it needs very little water to survive and prosper. It’s one of the most drought-resistant types of grass that you can find. The roots of Bermuda Grass grow very deeply and will have better longevity than a shallow root grass seed. Bermuda grass is highly adapted to a sandy lawn, especially one in the Southern part of the United States. If you want to establish new grass that will last for years to come, Bermuda grass is a great option to consider.
Centipede grass is yet another option that does well in the heat. You won’t have to worry quite as much about this grass burning out, and it’s easier to find in a seed than something like Zoysia grass seed. Centipede grass can work in light shade or full sun, and it is a very common option in the Southwest area of the United States. The grass does hit a dormancy stage in the winter months, and it can be a bit sensitive when transitioning into the growing season.
Bentgrass is another type of grass commonly found on a golf course. The Bentgrass is adaptable to being cut at various heights and will work in several soil types, but it’s best suited for those with some landscaping experience. Bentgrass will spread quickly into a beautiful lawn, but it can also take over anything else that is nearby. In addition, there are issues with weed control in Bentgrass that need to be addressed to ensure that the lawn looks good all year long.
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Now that we have given you the best seed types for sandy soil, you have to make the ultimate decision as to which to install in your yard. The correct type of seed will help to ensure that your landscaping needs are considerably more manageable through the years. However, some important factors must be considered before knowing you have the right grass.
As you saw from our guide featuring the best grass seed for sandy soil, each seed has both positives and negatives. There is no such thing as a perfect grass seed. Instead, you must find something that is a mix of both strong growth and easy maintenance.
Talk to your neighbors and friends about what type of grass they are growing in their yards. If you see that someone is having success with a healthy and beautiful lawn, it can give you some direction to take.
Sandy soil is very common in the south, where water issues can also become a problem. If you are struggling to keep your grass moist, then you must consider the drought tolerance of the grass seed you choose.
This is why it’s important to choose a grass seed that has a deep root system. The deep roots can do a better job of preserving water from the sprinkler. This is why it makes sense to water for long periods of time and not quite as often.
Warm season grasses will only grow in the southern weather where soil temperatures are hotter. Cool season grasses grow in the north, where they are prepared for a shorter growing season and cold temperatures throughout the winter.
Trying to plant grass seed in the south that is typically a northern seed will result in weak turf, shallow roots, and a problem that won’t work well in sandy soil. In the transition zone, you may have a few more options for seed, but you must still choose based on the specific climate and soil temperatures.
Foot traffic can be an issue in sandy soil. Since the lawn mower, pets and kids can push this soil around a bit more just by walking on it. This is yet another reason that deep roots are favorable for high foot traffic areas.
It’s great to get a nice green lawn started and have it look beautiful, but you must also consider what is involved with the long-term maintenance and upkeep of the lawn. Think about weed control, mowing heights, aeration and dethatching needs, and more.
If you are concerned with long-term maintenance, check these things before putting seed down.
Most of the options on our list will grow well in the sun. This is typical for a sandy soil grass seed. Shade is where you may struggle a little, as almost all grass needs some sunlight. St.Augustine can be a good option for partial shade; this is typically sold as sod and can grow well in sandy soil.
The root system of grass seed for sandy soil must grow deep. If the root system is a more shallow grass, then it won’t last. Some grass, like Bermuda grass, can have a root system that grows more than 5 feet below the surface of the lawn. Of course, this can make Bermuda grass to be difficult to get rid of, and for most homeowners, this is looked at as a positive.
When planting grass in sandy soil, it is essential to make some amendments to the soil before planting. If you are trying to plant the grass seed and the soil is very sandy, you may struggle to get it to germinate.
The first thing to do will be to mix some organic matter into the top six to ten inches of soil. This can be compost or mulch, but it gives the soil a bit more substance than just the sandy matter. In addition, you can use a starter fertilizer specific to sandy soil, typically having a bit more phosphorous.
Once you have your soil prepared, plant the seed and then cover with a bit more of this soil just to ensure the grass seed does not blow away. Then follow all appropriate directions on the seed package for watering times and upkeep.
Typically, it will take about 14 days to see results when planting grass in sandy soil. The exact time that it takes for grass seed to grow will also depend on the type of seed you chose and the growing conditions. Expect to wait longer if the weather is not ideal for growing.
You can put a thin layer of topsoil over the sand to grow grass, but you must still choose a seed resistant to sandy soils. Even though the first few inches may be topsoil, below this topsoil where the grass grows is going to be sandy soil that extends well down into the earth. This is where the roots of the grass take hold, and they must be tolerant to sandy soils.
Hopefully, you now feel ready to purchase the best grass seed for sandy soil. Pay very close attention to where you live and the conditions in your area, as they will define what type of grass seed will do best. In the end, there are likely going to be several different options for your area and your soil. If you are confused by the process and worried about your soil composition, doing a soil test is a great option.
Kentucky bluegrass is a cool season grass that typically does not grow as well in sandy soils. With the soil composition being very different throughout the United States, you will see primarily warm season grasses being the strongest in sandy soil.
Tall fescue can be a good choice for sandy soil. It is also one of the easiest grass types to grow, making it a favorite option for many homeowners.
You can grow grass seed on sandy soil, but in pure sand, it can be a little difficult for grass to grow. If you want a thick and lush lawn, make sure that more organic material is built into the sand.
The best grass for growing in sand and shade is likely St. Augustine. It’s important to put down a top layer of excellent soil before putting St. Augustine sod down. However, once this sod establishes itself, you should not have too many problems with it taking root and growing strong for years to come.
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