The Q&A Archives: Planting In Sandy Soil

Question: I just bought a home in the dunes area and my neighbors tell me they have had no luck planting flowers in the sandy soil. Do you have any suggestions for treating the soil so I can plant flowers. Riding through the town I noticed they use daylilies or stella doro in some areas.

Answer: In some cases where the native soil is not well suited to gardening, it is a good idea to use raised beds, with or without formal edges. This allows you to improve the soil so that plants will thrive in it. Usually, sandy soil is best improved by adding copious amounts of organic matter such as compost, rotted leaves or aged stable manure and bedding. You might want to run some basic soil tests and add any other amendments as indicated by the test results as well. Your county extension should be able to help you with the tests and interpreting the results; they should also be familiar with the particular soil in your area and be able to make recommendations of how to work with it to get it to support healthy plants.

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