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A Lawn Care Program for Seaside Landscapes

by Marcia Passos Duffy, All About Lawns Columnist

Living in a home with a gorgeous ocean view may fulfill one of your lifetime dreams, however it can be a real challenge for your landscape. The fact is that most plants--including grass--do not like salty or alkaline soils and harsh winds associated with oceanfront living.

Salt in the soil inhibits water absorption. The sandy soils found at beachside are often nutrient-poor, compounding the problem. The result can be yellowed turf and even death of the lawn. But with a careful lawn care program, you can alleviate these problems and have a healthy seaside landscape.

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  • Make it greener
  • Eliminate patches
  • Less weeds
  • Make it thicker
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Plant Salt-tolerant Varieties of Grass

Some grass varieties tolerate salt, flooding, and salt-spray conditions. Contact your local cooperative extension office for advice on the best types of grass to plant for your region of the country.

Avoid Kentucky bluegrass, which does not grow well in salty soil. Better choices include:

  • Perennial ryegrass
  • Tall fescue
  • Red fescue
  • Wheatgrass
  • Alkaligrass
  • Bermuda grass

Perennial ryegrass and alkaligrass--fine-blade varieties--should be cared for with mowing, fertilizing, and watering just like a Kentucky bluegrass lawn. Turf-variety tall fescue and crested wheatgrass tolerate salty conditions, too, although they look a bit coarser than other grasses.

Include Frequent Watering in Your Lawn Care Program

While grass in a seaside landscape is often wet, it is not the right kind of moisture. Make sure you regularly water the lawn to flush any salt below the root line; this improves the internal drainage of the soil.

Consider Naturalizing the Yard with Ornamental Grasses

If your oceanfront property is particularly salty and windswept, consider growing ornamental grasses that are indigenous to seaside dunes, such as:

  • Sea oats
  • Saltmeadow and sand cordgrass
  • Muhly grass
  • Crown grass
  • Blue dune grass
  • Bear grass
  • Pampas grass

Colorado State University offers more information on choosing and maintaining salt-tolerant grasses. With the right research and care, you can enjoy the seaside home and lawn of your dreams.



About the Author
Marcia Passos Duffy is a freelance writer and a member of the Garden Writers Association. She is a frequent contributor to Turf Magazine and Growing Magazine. Visit her site at www.backporchpublishing.com

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