Best Grass Seed for Sandy Soil: Choosing the Right Seed

Growing a beautiful garden on sandy soil is a hard thing even for expert gardeners. However, by knowing what kind of grass seed is best for sandy soil, it is possible. I am Gretchen, a seasoned gardener who has worked as an accountant at a small Jacksonville real estate firm. I always had a thing for gardening, and some years ago, I quit my job and dedicated my time to growing plants and other gardening activities. Today, I want to share my knowledge about the best grass seed for sandy soil.

From my experience, I can say that growing anything on sandy soil is a daunting task. I found out that the best time to build your lawn grass is during the spring favorable conditions. Early autumn is also a perfect time because grass gets ample time to develop its root system in preparation for the winter season.

But what grass seed is best for sandy soil? First of all, let’s talk about the specifics of sandy soil and how soil pH tester can be of help for growing grass on it.

Understanding Sandy Soil Structure

If you live in a sandy area, you know how difficult it is to plant anything there. Poor water retention of such soil makes it less capable of supplying grass with essential nutrients. However, with soil amendments, you can turn your sandy soil lawn into a beautiful place filled with thick grass.

The structure of sandy soil differs in terms of color, texture, and water retention ability. Though you can use a soil pH tester to determine the quality and content of the soil, it is easy to tell sandy soil, especially by feel. It comes with a gritty texture when you squeeze a handful through your hand. Sandy soil is made up of broken and eroded rocks. It consists of large particles, thus, it has large spaces between them.

This makes the water retention capacity of sandy soil extremely poor. Water and nutrients get washed away easily, so it is hard to grow plants on it. Moreover, it is challenging to build up the organic content of sandy soil.

However, this does not necessarily mean that all hope is lost. There are ways you can improve the soil amendments of sandy soil. For example, grass plays a crucial role in fertilizing the soil. What is more, there are many grass seed options, which thrive even through sandy soil conditions. Thus, I have prepared seven grass seed reviews to sow on sandy soil to grow a beautiful lawn.

My Top 7 picks of grass seed for sandy soil

There are five grass types of grass seed, namely Bermuda, Zoysia, Bahia, cool-season fescue, and centipede grass that grow best in sandy soil because of their deep and developed root systems. Here are my top picks of best grass seed for sandy soil.

Zoysia Plug Tray

Zoysia Plug Tray

These plug trays can grow into a magnificent low-maintenance lawn. The plugs are easy to get in the ground and take care of. The best part about using the plug trays is that there is reduced transplant shock, and you plant the grass with its root system covered with the initial soil. This allows the plugs to grow and spread faster compared to if you just sow seed on the sandy soil. 

Zoysia grass has low nitrogen requirements, which makes it a suitable option to grow in sandy soil. What I also like about plug trays with Zoysia grass is that the mature plugs end up producing the runners. It is also can grow in drought-stricken areas. What is more, grass seed can grow both in sunshine and shadow. 

If you purchase Zoysia grass during the winter season, you will notice that it comes in a brown color. However, once the summer period starts, the grass greens up.

Bahia Grass Seed

Hancocks Argentine Bahia Seed pack

The Hancocks Argentine grass seed tends to grow into a lush, low-maintenance, thick grass. Additionally, it has low watering requirements. I like this Bahia seed because it can grow in sandy soil really fast compared to other grasses.

Some of the characteristics associated with this Argentine Bahia grass is its inclusiveness of deep-rooted, drought-tolerant, and disease-resistant roots. This Bahia grass can produce up to 12-feet dense root structure. This caters to the low water requirements. 

It is also known as a pasture grass that grows during the warm season and in warm climates. Therefore, the Bahia grass seed makes up for a highly dense and attractive lawn that can withstand all the harsh weather conditions.

The Best Fescue Grass Seed for Sandy Soil

Scotts Snap Pac Grass Seed Tall Fescue Grass pack

The Fescue grass is known for its ability to adapt to different climates, being heat, cold, and shade-tolerant. This is the right grass seed to sow if you want to improve the density and resilience of your lawn. The peak growing season for the grass is in the spring and fall. The grass can thrive well in both sunlight and shade. 

It can give your lawn a vibrant dark green color, and the low maintenance requirements make this grass seed a preferred choice. The grass can grow even in northern gardens due to its high tolerance to drought compared to other cold-season and warm-season grasses.

Bermuda Grass – The Best Grass Seed for Sandy Soil and Shade

Scotts Turf Builder Bermuda Grass pack

This warm-season grass needs well-drained soils, which have less water content. Thus, this grass seed is best suited for growing in sandy soil.

I noticed that this Bermuda grass grows much faster compared to other warm-season grasses. It is the perfect choice when looking for grass that can withstand both heat and drought. This grass seed can thrive in both drought and flood conditions.

However, it can’t grow when deprived of shade or sunlight. It is essential to sow Scotts Turf Bermuda grass seed in areas with enough exposure to sunlight.

This grass has a dark green shade, and it is thick. During dormancy, Bermuda grass changes its color.

Zoysia Grass Seed – The Best Grass Seed for Sandy Soil

Zenith Zoysia Grass Seed pack

A significant characteristic of the Zoysia grass is its ability to withstand drought, heat, and other harsh weather conditions. Thus, this type of grass is well-suited for porous sandy soils. It grows with deep roots, which reach into the ground. This Zenith Zoysia grass seed is one of my favorite options as it always thrives well on my lawn.

After the roots develop deep in the ground, they make the grass highly tolerant to drought. The roots also play a vital role in ensuring that the grass growth does not solely depend on the soil’s fertility. Even if you sow it in the sandy soil, Zoysia grass seed can grow into a beautiful and dense lawn.

I want to note that this grass develops a golden brown color during its dormancy. Though it requires full exposure to the sun for fast growth, this grass can even thrive in shadow. In the soil of 60˚F or higher, this Zenith grass seed can sprout in 2-3 weeks.

Centipede Grass – The Best Grass Seed for Sandy Dry Soil

Tifblair Centipede Grass pack

When it comes to low maintenance requirements for a grass type, the centipede grass leads the list. This grass seed needs less watering and attention for growing into a thick grass in your lawn. 

It is widely known as a warm-season grass, and its peak growth occurs during the late spring and summer. However, this type is highly sensitive to cold compared to other grasses. 

Centipede grass has an outstanding tolerance towards high drought and heat. It has a relatively shallow root system, compared to other warm-season grasses. Therefore, the only time you will have to spend watering this grass is during the low rainfall season.

Pensacola Bahia Grass – Great for Large Lawns

You can also opt for the Turf Builder Bahia grass by Scotts company that is very resistant to heat and drought. It is the perfect choice if the soil in your area is extremely sandy. 

This Pensacola Bahia grass seed develops a deep root system, which makes it highly resistant to drought. However, this seed grows in the grass of dull color and doesn’t result in a dense lawn, making it a less attractive option. But I recommend purchasing this Bahia grass seed if you have a large lawn to cover with grass. This seed requires less maintenance and thrives well in sandy soil.

How to Grow Grass on Sandy Soil?

Here are my tips on how to grow grass on sandy soil. First, you need to remove debris, weeds, and all big rocks. The idea is to help the soil to maintain moisture for growing grass. Sandy soil has a fast absorption rate, and this can be reversed by using a mixture of compost or developing your loam soil. Therefore, you need to dig about six inches deep while using a rake. Ensure that the organic material has been spread equally on the soil.

A good alternative is investing in fertilizers. The rate of plant growth can be improved with the use of fertilizers. Coat the entire planting area with fertilizers and cover it to ensure that the fertilizers and nutrients will not be easily blown off.

Once you have made all these preparations, you can finally sow the selected grass seed in the prepared soil. All the five types of grass seed that I have mentioned above can thrive through the sandy soil, but it can develop quicker and thicker if you help the soil to absorb and retain moisture.

Spread seeds evenly and water the soil lightly. It can be quite challenging to determine the appropriate amount of water needed for your grass. Too much water can lead to washing away grass seed, leaving behind bald spots. Once you have spread seeds and watered the area, make another round with sowing a handful of seeds in the soil. These will cover the bald spots left after the watering process.

Getting a beautiful lawn requires patience. You need to check on it frequently by clipping and removing weeds that grow faster than grass. I recommend cutting the growing grass only when it reaches at least three inches.

Final Thoughts on the Best Grass Seed for Sandy Soil

If you have sandy soil in your area, it can be challenging to grow a thick lawn. However, with the grass seed mentioned above, you can quickly grow a dense and thick grass. Though the main problem with sandy soil is that it has a reduced water retention capability, the grass types I have mentioned are suitable for growing even on sandy soil.

What is the best grass seed for sandy soil among the reviewed? All of the grass types are highly tolerant to heat, drought, and harsh weather conditions. However, I can name the Zoysia grass as my preferred option for the best grass for sandy soil because it needs a little attention and consumes less water. Also, Zoysia grass seed can thrive in both sunlight and shade conditions.

Do you have any additional tips on growing grass on sandy soil? Have you sown one of the mentioned grass types? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below.

10 Comments
  1. Hey guys.
    I just want to thank you for this post. This helped me so much when I was choosing the best seeds for the sandy soil near my house in Texas.

    I’ve been following your blog for months and learned so much about gardening. I just wish you were on Facebook. Would be easier to follow the updates that way.
    Thanks again and have a great day.

    Kind regards.
    Kate

  2. Hey there. Ryan here. I live in NC. I’ve spent over 10 years making multiple attempts to keep our fescue lawn healthy — to no avail!! I’m not a lawn grass pro, but I’m good at reading and following some simple tips, and I’ve done everything in my power to keep our fescue looking nice. A friend suggested I use centipede. So I bought 3 pounds of Tifblair centipede and seeded my unhealthy fescue lawn. Excellent solution. Today, my centipede lawn is not perfect, but it’s a lot better than fescue. So if you’re planning on replacing your grass, I highly recommend that you use Tifblair centipede grass. Just sow the seed, water it, and be patient. In 2-3 seasons your lawn will transform into a perfect green centipede turf that’s durable, soft, and overall fantastic. What’s more, centipede grass is amazingly drought- and weed-resistant. I fertilize it twice a year and water it once a week. That’s it!! Yep, centipede seed is expensive, but it’s worth the price. Definitely the best grass seed for sandy soil.

  3. Wow such a great article!! You have no idea how helpful your tips are for me!!. I’ve been looking for the best pasture grass seed for sandy acidic soil in Texas and you seem to be the only gardening blogger I trust…. Please share your recommendations. Thanks!!

    • Reply Gretchen McKenzie
      Gretchen McKenzie 04.01.2020 at 17:02

      Dear Tracy,

      Thank you for your kind words about our blog. Me and my husband are always delighted to assist you on your gardening journey. I believe genuine desire to help people is among the most effective elements of success of any blogger out there.

      As for your question about the best pasture grass seed for sandy acidic soil in Texas, I would recommend a bag of argentine bahia seed from Hancock Seed (it is featured on my Top 7 Picks of Grass Seed for Sandy Soil list above).

      Plant this seed in conjunction with 16-04-08 fertilizer from Hancock Seed, and the results will amaze you. The grass grows really quickly. Just let the seeds take hold and avoid mowing the grass for about a month. Hope that helps. Good luck planting!

      Gretchen

  4. I totally agree with Ryan. I’ve been using centipede grass seed for over 20 years, it grows and spreads really fast. It’s a beautiful, soft grass that’s perfect for sandy soil and hot weather. I’ve tried many different brands, and Tifblair centipede is probably the best grass seed for sandy soil I’ve ever used. If you are patient enough, with Tifblair you will have a beautiful lawn. Thank you Bryan and Gretchen for recommending this brand. It works exactly as advertised if you follow the directions correctly. And I also like that the coating keeps the birds from eating it…

  5. Reply Avatar
    Melissa Mayers 08.01.2020 at 13:15

    Hi Gretchen. Thank you so much for this post. Thanks to you, the eternal ‘what grass grows best in sandy soil’ question of mine has been successfully answered. Moreover, I followed your recommendation and purchased Zoysia grass trays — and they turned out to be excellent-quality! Planting was super easy. And I haven’t lost a single plug. Can you please elaborate on the best fertilizer for sandy soil? I’ve been following your tips for months, and — what a miracle — my black thumb seems to be turning green. I’m so happy about it. Thanks so much for sharing your experience with us.

    • Reply Gretchen McKenzie
      Gretchen McKenzie 09.01.2020 at 11:55

      Dear Melissa,

      Thank you for your kind words about our blog. Me and Bryan are always happy to share our knowledge with our readers — our genuine love for what we do is one of the secrets of our success. I’m delighted that our passion helps other gardening enthusiasts enhance their skills and learn the “”nuts and bolts”” of home improvement.

      With regard to your question about the best fertilizer for sandy soil, I recommend using composted manure, ground bark, or peat moss. These fertilizers contribute to retaining moisture and prevent nutrients from being quickly washed out from the sandy soils. Make sure you enrich your sandy soil with at least 2 inches of well-rotted organic matter each year. Good luck!

      Gretchen

  6. So I was searching for a low maintenance lawn that could grow in sandy and salty coastal areas near DC. I tried Zenith Zoysia Grass Seed and it worked just great. What I especially like about it is that it never stops spreading out and filling in the blank areas. Just make sure you follow the germination instructions from the manufacturer, plant the grass in the area where there’s lots of sunlight, prepare the soil properly, and use a quality starter fertilizer if you want to succeed in growing it. It’s best grass for sandy soil, hands down. Thanks for recommending it guys. Peace. Matthew.

  7. Reply Avatar
    Francesca McKnight 27.02.2020 at 12:09

    Hello 🙂 thanks for the review. Gretchen, I have one question: do I need to use fertilizers if I use The Fescue grass? You wrote that it is one of the best grass types that adapt to any condition.

    • Reply Gretchen McKenzie
      Gretchen McKenzie 29.02.2020 at 11:47

      Francesca, hello and thanks for the question. My own recommendation is yes, you need to use a fertilizer, no matter what grass type you use. It makes the grass more beautiful. In fact, The Fescue is the best grass for sandy soil, so you can fertilize the soil less frequently.

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