Cape American Beach Grass
Fields of cultivated beach grass
Cape American Beach Grass is typically planted when it is dormant. The typical dormancy period is Mid October to Mid April. After this period the success rate of planting dormant culms is very low. Therefore it is recommended that plugs be used instead of the culms from May until October.
Beach grass can be held in the dormant state by digging in the bundles in a moist but not soggy soil 6 to 8 inches deep until you are ready to plant. A protected northern exposure is preferred.
The beach grass can be held in this manner for a manner of weeks or at least until it breaks dormancy. One note to be careful of is rodents, which will eat the culms if left too long in the ground in this fashion.
Recommended Planting Rates:
Cape American Beach Grass should be planted two dormant stems or culms per hole per square foot.
Example: a bundle of 300 stems will cover approximately 150 square feet.
Why Cape American Beach Grass?
There are actually many strains of American Beach Grass (Ammophila breviligulata). The Cape strain was selected after the hurricane of 1938 wiped out much of the dune grass on the Eastern Seaboard. After the hurricane several researchers came to Cape Cod where they discovered the Cape American strain proliferating on the Sandy Neck Area of Cape Cod Bay.
This cultivar was found to be very hardy, very vigorous and thick stemmed. Everything that was needed to quickly restore the sand dunes that were eroded along the Atlantic coast.
Processing Beach Grass - These photos show the process of separating the stems, bundling and cutting the beach grass to length.