Many plants will not grow well in sandy soil. The soil has poor water holding and nutrient capacities. Many types of grass will have difficulties establishing in the sand as well. So, will Bermuda grass grow in sand?
Yes, Bermuda grass thrives well in sandy soil and spread fairly fast since it prefers well-drained soil with less water retention. It is uniquely suitable for beaches and coastal regions.
Can you Plant Bermuda Grass in the sand?
Bermuda grass is a warm-season grass that is suitable for sandy soil. It requires well-drained soil that has less moisture. When compared to other warm-season grass, Bermuda grass thrives well to establish into a dense turf when grown on beaches and coastal regions.
While Bermuda grass can thrive in sandy soil, it may not do well in shade. It requires direct sunlight for at least 4 to 6 hours per day. It is a drought-resistant grass and will go dormant during winter and come back to life in spring and summer.
Bermuda grass comes in different varieties. Riviera and Yukon are examples of cultivators that are drought and cold-resistant. They germinate fast at around 7 days and take 4 to 6 weeks to achieve full coverage of the seeded area. Therefore, they can do well in the transitional zones.
What Makes Bermuda Grass Good for Sandy Soil?
Here are some of the characteristics that make Bermuda grass suitable for sandy areas.
Sandy soil is too porous and does not retain water. This means that even if you irrigate your grass daily, it will still suffer from inadequate water. Bermuda grass is drought tolerant and can thrive well in soil with less water. This characteristic makes it the best choice for sandy areas.
Bermuda grass survives on less water and the roots are not damaged by the air pockets found in sand. It’s also able to come back to life after a long period of dormancy caused by drought.
Also Check: When does Bermuda grass turn green? (after winter dormancy)
Deep Root Structure
Bermuda grass has a deep and web-like root system. The longer roots are able to get deeper below the top sandy layer to get moisture and nutrients. Having roots with an increased surface area means that they are also able to absorb more nutrients from deep down in the soil.
The long root system also helps to anchor the grass properly in the unstable environment provided by the sandy soil. The roots contain horizontal growing rhizomes and stolon to increase anchorage in the sand.
Sand soil is too porous, it drains water quickly together with nutrients. This means that the grass will have less water and nutrients as well. Hardly grasses like Bermuda not only withstand tough periods of droughts, but they are also able to thrive in soil with less nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and other micronutrients.
Bermuda grass is resistant to some pests and diseases. Sandy soil provides favourable conditions for nematodes and other bugs that can attack your lawn. Therefore, it is ideal to choose Bermuda as your lawn grass for sandy beaches.
How to Grow Bermuda grass in Sandy Soil
Soil that is made up of 50 to 80% of sand is best for growing Bermuda grass. The soil is easy to work with, drains well and the grass is able to establish the roots properly. With sandy soil, it only requires a few amendments to fully support grass growth.
Here are tips on how to grow Bermuda grass in sandy soil.
1. Get the soil tested
The first step to take when growing Bermuda grass in sandy soil is to conduct a soil test. Soil test results indicate the nutritional composition, organic matter and pH of the soil. It also provides information on the nutrients to be added and a recommendation on the proportions required.
It is important to know the nutritional value of your soil prior to sowing grass seed. It helps to make the right decision when purchasing a starter fertilizer for your new lawn grass.
2. Clear and prepare the site
Once you are through with the soil test, the next step is to clear and till the site. Use a machete to clear bushes on the site. Remove stones, sticks, branches, leaves and other debris from the site and till the land to a depth of 6 inches.
Perform secondary cultivation to break large clods, fill the dips and grade the area. Be sure the site is sloping away from buildings and other structures within your compound.
3. Amend the soil
Sandy soil is usually very low in organic matter, it drains too fast and the grass may not be able to absorb water for as long as they require. Add a layer of organic matter and incorporate it into the soil up to a depth of 6 inches. Use organic matter like a well rotten homemade compost or manure.
4. Adjust the soil pH
Adjust the pH according to recommendations provided on a soil test. Most lawn grass including Bermuda prefers a soil pH range of 6.0 to 6.8. Use lime or sulfur to adjust soil pH. If it’s too low, raise it using lime. On the hand, if the pH is too high, use sulfur to lower it.
5. Fertilize the soil
Fertilize the soil using a slow-release starter fertilizer to boost the initial growth. Choose a starter fertilizer that contains a higher percentage of phosphorus as compared to nitrogen and potassium. Phosphorus is essential in the initial growth to promote proper root development.
Fertilize each month during the growing to make Bermuda spread faster. However, you are supposed to fertilize lightly. Generally, it is recommended to use 1 pound of fertilizer per 1,000 square feet of lawn.
Do not over-fertilize, excess chemicals can leach through the sand particles to pollute the water table.
6. Plant grass seed
You have tested the soil, prepared the land, amended the soil, adjusted the pH and fertilized the soil. Now it’s time to sow your grass seed. Rake the surface of the soil to obtain fine particles. Feed the seed into a rolling broadcast spreader. Spread the seed on the surface of the soil.
7. Apply mulch
Spread a layer of mulch on top of the seeded lawn. Use materials like straw, grass clippings or sawdust. Mulching will help to conserve soil moisture content, prevent birds from feeding on the seeds as well as shield the seed from the scorching effects of the sun.
8. Water the seeded lawn
Water the seeded lawn for 10 to 15 minutes immediately after planting. Water daily up to a depth of 2 inches until when the seed will germinate. Then water lightly so that the nutrients are not washed away from the soil.
Sandy soil should not prevent you from having beautiful lawn grass. In fact, sandy soil is easy to work with, drains well and promotes the easy establishment of Bermuda grass. Simply prepare the soil adequately before you seed your lawn.