The Best Grass for Sandy Soil: A Comprehensive Guide

Many types of grass can grow in sand. It would be beneficial if you did some study to see which one is ideal for your yard. It is not impossible to find grass that grows in sand. But it is essential to do your research before choosing one. You will most likely find this type of grass near coastal areas.

While beaches have a lot of sand, you will find some sand in the soil near the coast for a few miles. It is hard for some types of grasses to grow. The sand is dense and heavy, making it hard for the roots to grow. The surface of the sand is also easily blown away, which leaves the top layer of the root system exposed. It makes some types of grass vulnerable to being scorched by the sun. Sand drains quickly as well, leaving the top layers dry.

Many types of grass can grow in sandy soil. Examples include fescue, zoysia, Bermuda grass, bentgrass, and Bahiagrass. These types of grass have deep root systems, which allow them to get moisture from the deeper soils and make them less likely to be affected by erosion.

Five Types of the Grass that Grows in Sand

All grasses can be started in the sand, but they will not be able to grow without a deep root system. They will be slow to spread out and may not reach maturity. Five kinds of grass grow in sand soil:

1. Bahiagrass

If you want grass that grows in sand, Bahiagrass might be good. This grass has deep roots, making it grow in soils like sand. Bahiagrass is also a perennial, warm-season grass that can be grown in the southern regions of the US. One of the best characteristics of Bahia grass is that it can grow with very little maintenance, even in infertile soils such as sand. However, the major drawback to this grass is that it does not spread out as it grows as other species do.

Bahiagrass needs a more acidic pH level than other grass species. Ranges from 5.5 to 6.5 should be reasonable. You may also need to watch out for weed growth during the initial establishment, as the roots can become overwhelmed by those of the competing weeds. Bahiagrass will spread if you cut it at five inches for the first month and then shorter with less frequent mowing. You won't have to worry about shady spots as much as you do with Bermuda grass, but it is still essential to ensure full sunlight.

2. Bentgrass

Bentgrass grows very well in soils with a lot of sand. This type of grass is often grown in southern states, but it can also grow well in northern states with high humidity and cool temperatures. The shallow root system of bentgrass allows it to grow quickly in well-aerated soils. It also prefers acidic soils with a pH level between 5 and 6.5.

Bentgrass is a type of grass that spreads quickly and can take over other areas easily. It does this without needing much encouragement. Bentgrass also has a heavy thatch, which should be trimmed short to avoid problems.

You need to fertilize this type of grass once a year so it will grow well. One big problem with bentgrass is that it is very vulnerable to diseases and bugs. If you don't take care of these problems, the grass will not do well. Bentgrass does not grow in the shade, but it does not do well in drought conditions. You need to water it regularly.

3. Bermuda Grass

A few types of Bermuda grass can grow in cooler climates and areas with low rainfall. Bermuda grass is a warm-season turfgrass, which means it grows best in southern parts of the US. It is one of the thickest grasses and is considered an invasive weed.

You need to make sure your Bermuda grass gets full sunlight every day. You need to water it regularly, but it will do well in soils with many drainages, like sand. The levels in pH can range from 5.8 to 7.0, making Bermuda grass an excellent choice for many locations.

Bermuda grass grows best in the Spring and Summer months. It has a deep root system that allows it to grow in various soils, both sand and clay. People choose Bermuda grass for sporting fields because it is resistant to damage from foot traffic. However, Bermuda grass does require a regular fertilizer regimen. Please read our article to learn more about the best fertilizers for Bermuda grass.

4. Tall Fescue

Creeping Red Fescue is a good grass to grow in sandy soil. It grows slowly, so it doesn't need a lot of attention. The deep root system helps it grow well in fast-draining soils like sand. It can also grow in other conditions, including meadows and coastal areas. The best soil pH levels for optimal growth are from 5.5 to 7, which helps the grass survive many different threats.

The turfgrass will grow all year, but it overgrows in the late spring and early fall. Tall fescue is an excellent perennial grass that can endure for years. Another benefit to this grass species is that it doesn't need a lot of sunlight. It can live with as little as four hours of direct sunlight.

To properly maintain tall fescue grass, you should mow it to a height between two and three inches, determined by the season. You will need to fertilize it once to twice per year. Clemson Cooperative Extension provides a Tall Fescue Maintenance Calendar that has more information on how to care for your tall fescue grass.

5. Zoysia Grass

Zoysia grass lawns have a deep root system, which means they are a good choice for growing in sand. The sand soil drains through to the layers below. The zoysia grassroots can absorb nutrients for proper growth at better rates than those grasses with shallow root systems.

You can make this slow-growing grass grow faster by feeding it with the right kind of fertilizer. The best pH levels for optimal growth are from 6.0 to 6.5. Zoysia grass is excellent for sand soils, but some types of zoysia grass can be affected by nematodes common in sandy soils.

Zoysia grass does not grow well in shaded areas. It needs full sunlight to grow properly. Zoysia is a warm-season species that are considered perennial. While it grows best in the southern regions of the US, you will find some cultivators that do well in the transition zone. Mowing heights range from 1.5 to 2.5 inches during different times of the year. Using a sharp mower blade is imperative to prevent damaging the edges. Controlling weeds with pre-emergent and post-emergent herbicides is also recommended to achieve a healthy zoysia grass lawn.

Tips on Care for Grass that Grows in Sand

  • You need to do a few things to grow grass in sand. You will need to free the lawn of any unwanted items, and then you will need to get the soil ready. You should also consider what kind of grass you want to grow and then find out what that specific grass needs.
  • Loosen the topsoil by tilling it. It will help mix in nutrient-rich compost.
  • You should use a good fertilizer that is high in phosphorus. Be sure to mix it in with the top section of soil and compost.
  • You should carefully follow the instructions on the packaging of your grass seed to ensure successful germination.
  • Use local soil to cover the bases.
  • Water your seeds right after you plant them and keep watering them according to the needs of the plants.

Final Thoughts

Although it may be hard to find grass that grows in sand, five great choices will do substantially better in this well-draining soil. Choose from Bahiagrass, bentgrass, Bermuda grass, tall fescue, or zoysia to have a lawn full of grass coverage.

Read more: How to get your lawn back in shape for the spring and summer