How to Plant Beach Grass


American beach grass (Ammophila breviligulata) and European beach grass (A. arenaria) are the most common plants found on beaches in the United States. The American species is found predominantly on eastern shorelines whereas the European species was introduced on the northern Pacific coast and is now considered invasive. These perennial grasses are heat and salt-tolerant and survive even the windiest of conditions. Beach grass does not tolerate foot traffic, however, and will die if walked on. Replacing American beach grass in sand dunes is an important aspect of protecting maritime beach ecology. Plant beach grass on the east coast from October until the end of March. New England residents can plant through April. European beach grass is not recommended for planting.

Step 1

Place the beach grass culms (stems of the beach grass plants), roots down, in the bucket of water to keep them moist while preparing the planting area.

Step 2

Dig holes 8 inches deep and 18 inches apart. Staggering the holes will provide better erosion protection.

Step 3

Plant two to three culms per hole and backfill with sand.

Step 4

Place fencing around the new plantings to prevent foot traffic from disturbing them.

Step 5

Fertilize 30 days after planting with a 30-10-0 formula at a rate of 1/2 lb per 1000 square feet of planting area. Follow the application instructions on the fertilizer label.

Things You'll Need

  • Bucket filled with water Small shovel or gardening trowel Fencing


  • California State Parks: European Beach Grass
  • Sea Grant New York/Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County: American Beachgrass
Keywords: plant beachgrass, establish beachgrass, beachgrass planting

About this Author

Victoria Hunter has been a freelance writer since 2005, specializing in gardening-related topics and the real estate industry. She is a former broadcaster and real estate agent who has provided audio and written services to small businesses and large corporations worldwide. She writes for, GardenGuides and ProFlowers, among others. Hunter holds a Bachelor of Arts in English/creative writing.