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How to Plant Beach Grass

By Bridget Kelly ; Updated September 21, 2017
Beach grass helps control erosion of the coastline.

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.

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.

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

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

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

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 Will Need

  • Bucket filled with water
  • Small shovel or gardening trowel
  • Fencing

About the Author


Based in the American Southwest, Bridget Kelly has been writing about gardening and real estate since 2005. Her articles have appeared at Trulia.com, SFGate.com, GardenGuides.com, RE/MAX.com, MarketLeader.com, RealEstate.com, USAToday.com and in "Chicago Agent" magazine, to name a few. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English with a concentration in creative writing.