American beach grass is an ornamental grass variety that is highly adaptable to adverse weather and soil conditions. It is a great addition to Japanese gardens or sandy soils in the landscape. It can be planted along bays, harbors and beaches. It helps form dunes due to its thick and deep root development.
Beach grass spreads rhizomes throughout the ground, lifting up sand and creating dunes. This effect may be used in the home garden for variations in the garden grade. The rhizomes spread 6 to 10 feet annually. The beach grass will grow to a mature height of 2 to 3 feet.
Beach grass is adaptable to a variety of soil conditions and will live with very little fertility. Constantly shifting sands in outdoor beach gardens do little to effect the health of the beach grass. It is also salt tolerant, meaning it will grow in soils with a high saline content.
Collection and Timing
Purchase strips of beach grass from local garden centers or harvest it from a beach with permission of the owner. American beach grass is best planted between October 15 and March 31, according to the New York Sea Grant. The plant and the roots are kept wet before the planting process.
Beach grass may be planted anywhere in the home garden, but be wary of the large rhizome growth to prevent destroying other plants. Plant by the ocean or near a harbor for the best effect. Find the median tide line by observing tide conditions or looking it up with your local university extension service. The plants should be 100 feet above the median tide line. Space rows 18 inches apart, and make rows 18 feet. Stagger each row. Dig into the sand by hand and bury the beach grass root. Tightly pack the sand around the grass roots. Make the hole 7 to 9 inches deep.
Fertilize the plant with 1 1/4 lbs. of broadcast fertilizer per 1,000 square feet. Apply the fertilizer 30 days after planting. Do not fertilize before April first since this will bring it out of dormancy and potentially damage its growth. Place a fence around the newly planted grass to allow it time to develop strong roots without foot traffic.