Sandy soil is mainly composed of sand particles larger than the predominant particles in silt or clay soil. Since water drains quickly in large areas, sandy soil dry promptly and does not store soil nutrients, as do denser silt and clay soil.
However, sandy soil has some advantages over heavier ones. For example, it is easier to manage, and the plant roots can grow more easily into the ground.
The right soil composition for grass consists of 70% sand, 15% silt, and 15% clay. All soils with more than 50% sand content are considered sandy; therefore, many sandy soils are suitable for growing grass.
Typically, sandy soil drains very fast, so it is unlikely to have a permanent water stand that kills or injures the grass.
How To Grow Grass in Sandy Soil?
1. Test the soil
The first step you need to do when growing grass in sandy soil is to test the soil. This insight will assist you in knowing what you are dealing with and whether you want to improve on the ground before continuing.
Also, testing can save you money and time and help you avoid adding soil amendments you do not need.
If you are missing something from the soil, you know exactly how much you want to add and its function. You can get a free soil sample test from the local government office, which may take some time to get results.
You can take the sample to the local extension office or purchase DIY soil test kits if you want quick results. In addition to nutritional tests, these tests check soil pH levels. The ideal pH should be about 6 to 6.5.
As soil pH level increases, the level of nutrients like phosphorus and iron decrease. When the pH drops, the level of these nutrients increases and can become toxic to the grass.
Also, soil acidity is critical to overall grass health, as some types of grass need slightly acidic soil. Collecting soil samples for analysis eliminate additional work from the hands and saves much guesswork.
2. Prepare the soil
Once you’ve tested the soil and know what you are dealing with, it is time to prepare the garden. Given that you’re working with a well-established grass, you can jump this step and then move to the following section covering the sandy soil amendment.
However, if you are growing new grass, you will need to plow the soil to the depth of at least eight to ten inches to remove debris on the surface and buried. Tilling at this depth can also help you reach dead roots, preventing grass from growing in your garden.
The next thing is to spray the place with a non-selective herbicide such as Roundup to kill weeds and other unwanted plants on the lawn.
Also, tilling the soil makes it weak, vulnerable, and easily washable by rain. Therefore, it is necessary to create a rock terrace around the garden to prevent soil erosion.
Essentially, these rocks slow down water penetration into the yard and limit the damage. Also, make sure the grass is horizontal to avoid the flowing of water from flooding the area.
3. Retain the soil moisture
The difficulty in retaining moisture in sandy soils is one of the main reasons it’s difficult to grow grass. Luckily, you can solve this challenge by making a mixture of compost or loamy topsoil.
First, start digging with a rake to a depth of 6 inches. Then cultivate organic material in the place for excellent sand retention.
4. Invest in fertilizer
As with any other soil, the use of fertilizer increases the chances of better grass growth. Apply the fertilizer evenly and cover the entire place in two batches.
After application, lightly rake the soil surface again. Lightly pour water in the whole area to seal so that the wind does not easily carry away fertilizers, nutrients, and other additives.
5. Choose the best grass type
After you have prepared the sandy soil, you can choose the grass type. Since the sandy area is under the topsoil, choose the best kind of grass to thrive in these situations, such as Bermuda grass and stem grass. Also, you can ask the professionals what is highly recommended in the form of seeds or sod.
6. Sowing and watering
Grass seeds generally work well when planted in the spring and fall, depending on the location. Growing them in sandy soils is the same as everywhere else, with some exceptions.
For starters, you will need about 16 grass seeds to cover one sq. inch. Also, planting many seeds close to one another causes overcrowding and weakens grass as the seeds in the area fight for nutrients.
The best way to ensure adequate seed coverage is to apply the fertilizer to the lowest setting. You will need to go through several steps in various directions until you get the required seed density per sq. inch.
To ensure good germination, make sure the seeds are buried 1/8 inch deep in the soil and good soil contact. This allows moisture in the ground to penetrate the roots and encourage the germination process.
When planting seeds, cover the place with seeding straw or peat moss to keep it moist. Water regularly and monitor the grass growth closely. You should expect results between 7 and 28 days, depending on the grass type.
7. Additional advice
The soil can be more exposed to water, making it possible to be washed, especially in adverse weather conditions. Essentially, you can use compost for three months after the growing period to keep the soil healthy.
Spread the compost diagonally in the entire lawn. Don’t use clay because the grass can be a challenge when growing in tough soil consistency.
It is heartbreaking if you don’t get anything sprouting after planting, watering, or spending effort and time growing grass. However, it’s possible to grow grass on sandy soil. You’re only required to do more research and be patient to be successful.
The Best Grass for Sandy Soil
If you do not know which grass is best for the sandy soil, do not worry because here are the best grass you can choose.
• Bermuda grass
This grass needs soil with good drainage and low water content. It is grass for the warm season, which makes it ideal for sandy soil. Typically, it is a fast-growing grass, which is perfect for clay soil. It comes with a dark green shade and is thick.
The advantage of it is that it can easily cope with floods and droughts. However, it cannot survive in conditions without sunlight or shade. This means it should be planted in areas with constant sunlight throughout the day.
This grass does not need a lot of water to grow. Nevertheless, the color may fade if not left in the water for a long time. This is because it has a deep root system, penetrating deeper into the root, ideal for sandy soil.
Therefore, it does not require a lot of water and fertilizer, but when it is dormant, it can start to darken and die. Thus, on sandy soil, you must be accountable for the health of the grass.
• Zoysia grass
Zoysia grass is perfect for the sandy soil, which is very porous. It has long roots, which can penetrate deep into the ground. Once the seeds are established in the garden, they can make the grass to be drought tolerant. In addition, its roots make it less reliant on fertile soil for nutrient uptake.
This grass can provide you with dense grass with rich green color, lasting for a long time. In addition, it can form golden brown color during the dormancy stage, which always looks good. Zoysia grass requires full sunlight to grow and can even survive in the shade.
Grass Care Safety Precautions
Be sure to wear protective gear when working with compost, soil, fertilizer, manure and other amendments. Gloves, safety goggles, a dust mask, and closed shoes are essential to protect the eyes, lungs, and skin.
When applying fertilizer to the grass, avoid spreading it on driveways, sidewalks, and other hardscape areas. Instead, sweep the granules and throw them back to the garden.
Also, do not dump excess fertilizer into the storm drain. Excess nitrogen promotes algal blooms in the waterway and can lead to a dead spot in lakes, rivers, and oceans because algae decompose when they die.
It is possible to grow grass in sandy soil. This soil is an excellent substrate when you want to develop different types of grass. Typically, sandy soil drains very fast and avoids a muddy yard.
Testing it can help you determine what’s missing and what steps you need to take to improve it. When you choose the best grass seeds to grow in the sandy soil and then add nutrients, the grass will thrive well.