what do i grow in sand?

greenjesse(6)March 2, 2011

I need suggestions of plants that grow in sand. I have a spot in my backyard where someone once put a sand pit. The sand is about 6-8 inches deep where there is a sandy soil beneath it. I really dont want to move the pit bc its significantly large area. What about sod grass? Please help! any suggestions help.

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Without knowing where you are, and what your gardening goals are, I can't make any recommendations, however, here are some thoughts regarding sandy soil...

For plants, the challenges of growing in sand are mainly its poor water and nutrient retention. It's benefits are good drainage (water does not tend to run off, but penetrates and moves through it well) and the ease with which roots are able to penetrate it.

The soil where I live is pure clay, and sometimes I wish I had more sand. In the Southwest, there are numerous very valuable plants that will only grow in sandy soils (mainly perennials, grasses, cacti, and shrubs), but none that I'm aware of that will only grow in clay.

In other words, you should not have a problem growing something in that sand pit, as long as you provide enough moisture and nutrients (which might not be any more than occur naturally) depending on the needs of the species.

If you grow sod grass over the entire area including the pit, you might notice a difference in growth (color, vigor, etc.) over the sand area, or you might not, again this depends on your location and the type of grass you get.

Hope this was in some way helpful...

    Bookmark   March 3, 2011 at 2:15PM
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nmgirl(8 S.NM)

Sod grass maybe hard to keep adequately watered.
I'm sure there are plants native to your area (wherever that is) that would do quite well in sandy soil.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2011 at 12:51AM
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Thanks! i live in east new mexico. How do i know which plants are native to this area. i mean i know that yucca and prickly pears are but i need something like grasses or shrubs! I think sod will be out of the question.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2011 at 8:13PM
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Check this link out perhaps you can find your area or something close to it and let us know your zone so we can better assist you. http://www.sunset.com/garden/climate-zones/sunset-climate-zone-new-mexico-00418000067308/

    Bookmark   March 6, 2011 at 2:49AM
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Sorry I realize you put that you are in zone 6 but I do not see a zone 6 in NM which is why I'm asking. :)

    Bookmark   March 6, 2011 at 2:57AM
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nmgirl(8 S.NM)

Greenjesse, are you out on the flats of easter NM or in the upcountry area?
Zone 6 is the USDA rating, a lot of eastern NM is Sunset zone 10.
Check out the link. You can refine your search criteria and get a good idea of plants you can try.

Here is a link that might be useful: native plants searchable database

    Bookmark   March 6, 2011 at 11:46AM
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ok, which zoning map is most widely used? Im on the flats on eastern new mexico.
Im planning on tilling the sand with the soil underneath and adding fertilizer dirt to it and tilling it all together. do you all think i will have a better chance of growing something? ill just have a raised spot in my yard! Thanks for all the great advice!

    Bookmark   March 6, 2011 at 8:05PM
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nmgirl(8 S.NM)

You're both USDA zone 6 and Sunset zone 10, just depends on which one you'd rather use.
What's the soil underneath, clay?
If it's clay you'll need to add a lot organic matter/compost. Don't till only sand and clay together in our part of the world, you'll end up with an adobe-like soil.
What do you mean by "fertilizer dirt"?
I have very sandy soil and I'd rather have it than clay. And in case you're wondering I have gardened in clay so I do know whereof I speak.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2011 at 6:05PM
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Its not really clay. We had clay when i lived in alabama and this soil is more gritty dirt? sandy soil? i really dont know how to explain it... I have seen some clay though in this area but not in my back yard.
fertilizer dirt i meant compost soil you can get at lowes.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2011 at 9:58PM
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nmgirl(8 S.NM)

Bagged compost would be a great addition.The soil out on the east side is quite fertile but, in our day and time, in need of organic matter.
What kind of plants do you want in this area?
Can you water them the first year so they'll get established?
What's the sun & wind exposure of the area in question?

    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 8:39AM
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The area the sand is in in my backyard is exactly where i need to grow a vegetable garden at. I now have to move my veggie garden to a less sunny area.
I am really looking for any kind of bush, flowering bush, or ornamental grass to put in the area. I can water it all year long and the sun hits the area 8 hours a day. Of course its always windy here! you cant escape it but its sitting right up against a brick wall.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2011 at 12:44PM
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