How to Grow Smooth Cordgrass


Cordgrass is native to the Southeastern United States coastal regions. A marsh plant, it only grows in the inter-tidal regions along the coast. Often planted as erosion control and a restoration plant, in grows best along canal banks, levees, shorelines and in tidal mud flats. Smooth cordgrass is most often grown from bare-root plugs with three 12-inch grass stems still attached. Plan to plant more cordgrass than you think you need, as it is prone to transplant shock.

Step 1

Choose an area to plant above the tidal line in shore plantings or in mud flats for interior plantings. Avoid areas with rich organic soils, or those which are under constant barrage from waves.

Step 2

Plan your cordgrass planting between April and September. Plant after all danger of frost has passed. Avoid planting during the heat of summer in interior areas such as mud flats, as the air circulation is poor at this time and cordgrass has trouble getting established.

Step 3

Dig planting holes approximately 3 inches in diameter and deep enough that root ball fits inside comfortably. Drop a slow-release nitrogen rich fertilizer tablet into each planting hole before placing the plant inside.

Step 4

Plant cordgrass bare-root plugs in rows to a soil depth that sets the root ball even with the soil surface. Firm the soil tightly around the plant so that the grass remains securely upright.

Step 5

Space plants 2 feet apart and space rows 5 feet apart. Use as many rows as necessary to fill in interior plantings such as mud flats; plant no more than two rows above the tide line for shoreline plantings.

Tips and Warnings

  • Cordgrass is considered an invasive species on the West coast and should not be planted there. Cordgrass does not grow well from seed so collecting seed for propagation rarely works.

Things You'll Need

  • Spade
  • Fertilizer tablets


  • USDA
Keywords: smooth cordgrass, erosion control planting, marsh grass

About this Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications. Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.