What Garden Plants Grow in Sandy Kansas Soils?

What Garden Plants Grow in Sandy Kansas Soils?

“I’ve tried some plants and flowers that say they grow in sandy soil, but no success. Do I need to stick to container gardening or add something to the soil in my flower beds? Thank you.” Question from Susan of Wichita, Kansas

Answer: If you choose the right plants for your site and improve your soil’s fertility, you will have gardening success. Many garden plants naturally grow beautifully in sandy ground. It’s all a matter of finding the right plants, and often the legwork has already been done by professionals.

Kansas Garden Plants

Thankfully, this is the case in your state. The Prairie Star program is Kansas State University’s plant testing program for your area. Prairie Star annuals, perennials, ornamental grasses, and shrubs are supposed to be the best for Kansas gardens, Witchita included.

Native Kansas Garden Plants

I am also an avid native plant advocate because your natives are naturally adapted to your landscape. They are no-fail plants. The Dyck Arboretum of the Plains has lots of resources on landscaping with native plants in Kansas, including garden designs. And the Kansas Native Wildflower Society has a whole section on gardening with native wildflowers for your region.

Of course, you can also garden in containers a well.

I hope that this information helps.

Happy gardening,

Jessie Keith

Black Gold Horticulturist

What’s the Best Midwest Lawn Grass?

“I have a new yard (bought a lot) and it doesn’t have good grass growth. This will be its first spring with its new dirt. Got any recommendations for grass seed that will take root quickly and be strong. I like to keep it 2-3″. Thank you.” Question from Michelle of Dayton, Ohio.

Answer: Tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea) is a good lawn grass for Midwestern homeowners. The cool-season bunch grass is easy to grow, while also being adaptable and disease resistant. It’s broad, coarse, deep green blades look good all season long, and it can also withstand the moderate heat and drought of summer. It also takes lots of foot traffic.

For a surefire lush lawn in the first season, you can always plant sod, but it is far less economical than seed. If choosing to seed, early to mid-spring is a great time to plant. The key is making sure that most of the grass seeds germinate, and the lawn fills in well. Here are six steps to ensuring your seed takes hold:

  1. Plant fresh, quality seed.
  2. Make sure your soil is smooth, weed-free, and top dress it with Black Gold Peat Moss to help germination.
  3. Plant seed with a push broadcast spreader for good coverage.
  4. Lightly rake in seed after spreading and consider using a lawn roller to press it down.
  5. Add a layer of straw over seeded areas to hold moisture and encourage people to stay off.
  6. Water the area lightly until the grass sprouts and starts to look lush.

Refrain from walking on your new lawn until it really begins to grow. Be sure to keep is moist, and fertilize it once it is full.  Once it reaches a few inches, you can mow it to a 3-inch height. Wait until it is totally full to mow it down to 2 inches.

I hope this helps!

Happy gardening!