What Is the Best Way to Plant Grass Seed in Sandy Soil?
In addition to water and soil, grass seed requires air, sunlight, and nutrients to germinate, grow, and thrive. Growing grass in sandy soil can be challenging for many reasons. Sand offers little in the way of nutritional value. It does not offer the stability plants need for their roots to anchor them to the ground, and sand does not retain moisture long enough for a plant’s roots to absorb it.
However, it is still possible to achieve the lush green lawn you’d like to have. It all begins with the right planting strategy.
What Type of Grass Should I Plant?
Fescue is the most popular type of grass for growing lawns in sandy soils. There are multiple types of fescue grass, and each one has its own preferences and climate adaptations.
Of these different types, creeping red fescue is generally considered the best option for sandy soil. It establishes a root system and grows via rhizomes, which enable it to establish itself and grow quickly. The second most popular option is chewings fescue. This feisty type of grass prefers low nutrient, sandy soil. It requires little fertilizer.
All types of fescue grass are tolerant of shade and will actually grow more quickly in the shade. However, it will also perform well in the sun. It will just grow at a slower rate.
There are also a variety of grass seed blends available that are marketed towards sandy soils. Most of these mixtures consist of some type of fescue mixed with three to five other types of grass seed. Mixing multiple types of grass seed is actually preferable, because it improves disease resistance and strengthens against normal wear and tear.
How to Plant Grass Seed in Sandy Soil
- The first step is to clear the ground of any sticks, rocks, weeds, and other types of debris.
- The sandy soil should be broken up to a depth of 8 inches. Large dirt clods should be smashed apart until finely tilled.
- Four inches of organic matter, like peat moss or compost, should be mixed in with the top 5 to 7 inches of broken up soil. This will improve the structure of sandy soil, including its ability to retain nutrients and moisture, as well as add valuable nutrients to the soil.
- A lawn starter fertilizer should be mixed into the top 4 inches of soil.
- The grass seed should then be planted according to the instructions on the bag of seed. This is important because each grass seed mixture will have own application rates depending on the grass seed concentration it contains and the particular grass species.
- After planting, the soil should be lightly raked to cover the grass seed with 1/16 of an inch of sandy soil.
- The soil should then be covered with an extremely light layer of mulch. Ideal choices include weed free straw or peat moss. The mulch should be used only sparingly. Only 50% of the soil’s surface should actually be covered with the mulch.
- The areas where the new grass seed has been laid will need to be watered multiple times a day in order to ensure that the top 2 to 4 inches of soil are kept moist. In most instances, the grass seed will germinate within 10 to 14 days.
After four weeks have passed, and the grass seed has germinated, your watering sessions can be cut back to three times a week. After another four to six weeks have passed, you can cut back to once a week. Although it requires a significant effort, a green lush lawn can be grown even on sandy soil. Once the hard part is over, you can kick back, relax, and enjoy the fruits of your labor.