Can Grass Grow in Sand? 5 Types of Grass for Sandy Soil

Sandy soil drains faster and tends to be less nutritious but that does not spell doom to your lawn vision. Some soil amendments together with the right type of grass for sandy soil will typically give you a green lush lawn in your sandy yard.

Sandy soil has larger sand particles that are not closely packed together like in silt or clay soil. This makes water and nutrients drain relatively faster through the large spaces. Additionally, the soil dries out quickly and does not retain the appropriate amount of moisture for seed germination and plant use.

However, you can successfully grow a lawn on sandy soil if you increase its moisture retention capacity. This can be done by adding compost manure or top with loamy soil. You will also be required to plant a suitable grass type for sandy soil, and water as needed.

What Grass Grows in Sandy Soil?

When choosing a grass type for your sandy soil consider the climatic condition of your region. Warm-season grasses thrive in warm conditions found in the southern part of the United States while cool-season grasses do well in cool weather common in the northern half of the continent.

The following are grasses that thrive in sandy soil.

1. Centipede grass

Centipede grass is a warm-season turf that thrives in sandy soil. The grass requires little care and maintenance and it’s a good bet for your sandy yard. It can be grown from seed, sod, or plugs. Organic or nitrogen-rich fertilizers will make it grow faster.

Centipede grass requires thorough watering during the first 2 to 3 weeks after planting and only a few times when established. Check how to make centipede grass spread fast.

2. Bermuda grass

Bermuda is also a warm-season grass that adapts well to sandy soils. It is equally resistant to cold conditions and does well in salty coastal regions. Sunlight and proper watering will make the seed germinate and grow faster.

An inch of water per week and some slow-release fertilizer will lead to a dense thick carpet of Bermuda grass on your sandy soil.

3. Tall fescue grass

Tall fescue is a cool-season grass that adapts well to hot dry climates. This drought-tolerant grass has a deep root system that makes it thrive in areas with low moisture. Tall fescue requires less water and nitrogen fertilizer for high-quality turf. Here is how to make Tall fescue grass spread.

4. Zoysia Grass

Without proper watering and fertilizing, Zoysia grass will do well in myriad conditions including drought, shade, and foot traffic. It has a well-established deep root system that makes it thrive in sandy or clay soil.

This warm season grass can be propagated through seed, laying sod, or inserting plugs. See what makes zoysia grass spread and fill in fast.

5. Bahia grass

Bahia grass is a warm-season grass that will spread quickly in dry infertile sandy soils. Its deep root system makes it resilient to drought and beach conditions. However, Bahia grass is very lighter in color and does not easily form a dense thick carpet. You may have to mix in other types of grass to get a thick lawn.

How to Grow Grass in Sandy Soil

Planting of grass on sandy soil can be done through seed, sod, or plugs. Other sophisticated methods such as hydroseeding can also be used. For you to get a thick dense lawn on sandy soil within a short period of time, here is what to do.

1. Prepare the soil

Kill weeds using an herbicide and after a week when all the weeds are dead, gather all the trash, big rocks, and other debris. Till the soil to a depth of 6 inches for proper root penetration and easy mixing of the soil with nutrients. Rake the soil again to remove large rocks and other chunks.

2. Add compost or loamy topsoil

Get well-decomposed compost or manure and mix it into the soil. Alternatively, you can add a layer of loamy topsoil to the sand. This will make the sandy soil retain the moisture longer for proper seed germination, nutrient absorption, and overall plant growth.

3. Apply starter Fertilizer

Pour the recommended amount of starter fertilizer into a standard spreader and evenly apply it over the planting site. Work the fertilizer 4 to 6 inches into the soil before you spread the seed or sod. Starter fertilizer will enhance the growth of emerging seedlings by offering essential nutrients to the roots.

4. Start planting the grass

Spread your grass seed on the soil using a broadcaster. Add a light layer of straw mulch or chopped grass clippings to prevent loss of moisture from the soil and also to save freshly planted seeds from high winds and hungry birds. Water the area 3-5 times a day to keep the soil moist until the seed germinates.

For plugs make appropriate holes in the soil in a checkerboard pattern. Plant the plugs or sods as you ensure proper contact with the soil. Do not leave empty pockets below the plug as this can cause poor root development or drying. Water the sods or grass plugs until they establish on the ground.

Sandy soil lawn care

During the growing season, a slow-release fertilizer each month will lead to faster spreading and growth of the grass. Do not over-fertilize as this will affect the plants as well. A yearly total of 5 pounds per 1000 square feet will be enough. Additionally, keep amending the soil with compost every 3 months during the growing season, simply rake it across the lawn.

After seeding, it may take up to 2 months before the grass is ready for mowing. A sod or grass plug may be ready within 3 to 6 weeks of planting. Mow your grass once it reaches 4 to 6 inches and only remove one-third of the height of the lawn. Weeds and pests should also be inspected on time for appropriate treatment.


  1. SELECTING A LAWN GRASS – Bob Polomski, PhD, Associate Extension Specialist and Debbie Shaughnessy, Former HGIC Information Specialist – Clemson University
  2. Drought-Tolerant Lawn Grasses –
  3. Maintaining Lawns on Sandy Soils– Zac Reicher and Clark Throssell Purdue University Turfgrass Specialists

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