Different soils have different textures and properties that may impact what can grow in them, and also how things grow in them.
In this short guide, we outline what might grow well in sandy types of soil, along with other relevant considerations.
Summary – What Grows Well In Sandy Soil
Sandy soil has it’s own unique traits/properties that makes it different from other types of soils
These traits/properties impact how suitable or unsuitable it is to grow different plants, fruits, vegetables, crops etc. in sandy soils
Some soils may be a sand mix, which means that it may be predominantly sand, but also include a certain % of another type of soil as well (such as a clay for example)
This may change the suitability of the soil to grow different things in it, as it isn’t a full sand soil
There’s different things can that can be to a sandy soil in order to amend it or improve it’s fertility, for the purposes of growing and soil productivity/soil yield
However, some sandy soils may never be suitable for growing certain things in them despite soil modification
The soil type is only one factor in determining what you can and can’t grow in that soil (or, how effectively something might grow in a specific soil type)
Other factors to consider for growing in different soils include the general soil fertility, and the local conditions and variables such as weather and climate, as just a few major examples
Overall, each square area of soil on an individual plot of land potentially has it’s own unique factors and variables to consider that will impact soil production. And, the same can be said for the soil in the different geographic locations around the world
All sandy soils may have general soil production principles that apply to them, but, may also have unique local variables impacting soil production as well
Profile Of Sandy Soil – Traits, Characteristics, & Features
Sandy soil may have these general features, traits, and characteristics:
– Have larger soil particles than clay and silt
– Be a looser soil with less soil structure than a soil with finer particles
– Not hold water very well because of how large and spaced apart the soil particles are
– Have good drainage
– Be well aerated
– Not hold onto nutrients very well – nutrients can get washed away along with the water that sandy soil loses
Real Examples Of Sandy Soil, & Where It Might Be Found
They mention as just one example, sandy soils might be found at the Nebraska Sand Hills.
Working With, Improving & Amending Sandy Soil
Adding To Sandy Soils
Sandy soil might require organic amendments such as glacial rock dust, greensand, kelp meal, or other organic fertilizer blends. It also benefits from mulching to help retain moisture (learn.eartheasy.com)
Matching Plants To Sandy Soils
As mentioned by wariapendi.com.au, choosing plants that grow naturally in sandy soil (as opposed to plants that need different soil conditions) is one way to possibly dodge issues with growing in sandy soil, and seeing your soil amendment attempts go to waste.
Raised Garden Beds
Using raised garden beds with imported soil is another option if you have issues with growing in sandy soil.
More Resources On Working With Clay Soils
Read more about working with and improving sandy soil:
A Note On Soil Types, & What Ultimately Impacts How Things Grow
Before we look at what grows well in sandy soil, it’s important to note that all soils have a slightly different composition in each geographic location – you might get a sandy soil in one location, but in another location you might get a sandy soil mixed with another type of soil, and this can change it’s characteristics
There are also different external factors acting upon the soil in each geographic area. Climate and weather are a major example of this
Additionally, there are ultimately a range of physical, chemical and biological factors that determine how well something grows in a particular spot or under particular conditions.
Soil fertility is a major factor tied to soil’s physical, chemical and biological traits, that can impact soil productivity and yield. Some soils have high natural fertility, but it’s also possible to modify or increase the fertility of some soils
This is just a guide on sandy soils in general, without going into extreme depth about all these other factors (factors like soil fertility, soil health, soil quality, the impact of adding fertilizers and pesticides, bringing in commercial topsoil, the impact of different tilling practices, and so on).
To assess the soil in an individual location, it can help to become aware of factors like:
– What the soil is, and what is the best way to manage it
– The climate in that location (temperature, rainfall etc.) and the growing seasons (for example – the US has different planting zones),
– The plants or things you want to grow and the conditions they need
This is of course just basic information – it’s important to research beyond these things for each individual situation.
These guides provide some basic information on figuring out what might grow well in different soils, conditions and locations:
Below is a collection of generalized lists of things that may grow well in sandy soil.
It’s important that you don’t rely solely on these lists though – obviously you should do your own additional research, and make your own independent decisions.
Plants & Flowers That Grow Well In Sandy Soil
Joe Pye Weed
Black Eyed Susan
Vegetables, Fruits & Crops That Grow Well In Sandy Soil
Root crops often grow well in the crumbly, loose texture that sand provides
Carrots, radishes and potatoes are examples of root vegetables
Leafy greens like lettuce and collard greens can grow well
Tomatoes, zucchini and corn can grow in soil in the summer
Aromatic herbs (rosemary, sage, thyme, oregano)
Trees & Shrubs That Grow Well In Sandy Soil
Eastern white pine
Flowering crab apple
+ other shrubs
Australian Plants & Trees That Grow Well In Sandy Soils
Read more about Australian plants and trees in sandy soils at wariapendi.com.au