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Lawn for the sand?

 
Joao Ferreira
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Hi,

I live in Portugal near the sea and basically my house sits on a big sand dune.
I have a front and back garden. Front garden has a thin layer of dark soil over it and the back garden has none. Basically it's beach sand.

On the front garden I had a type of centipede grass (it's called gramão here). It was OK, needed some water especially during the summer and dealt decently during winter, but was a lot of work as it needed a lot of mowing, puling and fine cutting the edges (those "arms" kept running around). And since it's a very thick and hard lawn, it also required regular scarifier work. I got someone to remove it all and plant a more traditional lawn but it needed a lot of water (and adding to it I need to replace a water pipe under the tiled floor) so it all went to nothing. Also, there's a bit of woodland around and I get a lot of weeds and sorts (even acacia trees... they are an invading species here. But they thrive on the sand very, very well).

So, is there some sort of low maintenance lawn that can be planted on sandy soil? I would also like it to be strong enough so that my daughter can play on it. The area is mild during winter and warm during summer. Front garden is full sun and back garden not so much (south/north facing). Lots of wind and "salty mists" and nights are almost always moist (even in summer).

Thanks

P.S. I may put some fruit trees or shrubs in the lawn areas.
 
Michael Cox
Posts: 1592
Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
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Do you get winter frosts where you are?

I ask because vetiver grass does very well on sandy soils, has very deep root systems and once it is established can find it's own water from deep below ground, and is tolerant to salt spray. It grows up tall gets used for making hedges - not at all a lawn grass. The reason I mention it is that it is good at building biomass from all the grass trimmings which might help you increase the water retention of your soil. You could use vetiver to improve your existing soil and make supporting other grasses easier.

Is your land on a slope at all? A vetiver hedge following the contour slows water flow helping more sink in above it and prevents your soil flowing away down hill.

Mike
 
Joao Ferreira
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Hi,

We do get some frost on occasion. And since this is a very humid area, it quickly forms ice.
 
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