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Plant Profile: European Beach Grass (Ammophilia arenaria)

Ammophila arenaria 2Introduced into the United States for dune stabilization, this coarse warm-season grass has become established throughout the Gulf and West Coast. In California it is considered a noxious weed. Its thick gray-green leaves are 1/8 to ¼ inch wide and up to five feet long, are sharp, have a waxy white cuticle and rolled edges so the leaves look cylindrical. When buried by sand the leaves elongate and adventitious roots form. Dense flower spikes up to twelve inches long appear green in spring and early summer and turn tan as they mature. European beach grass forms stiff compact colonies with thick, deep, scaly rhizomes that hold the soil in place. The rhizomes tolerate submersion in salt water and can spread the grass as they break off the mother plant, float elsewhere, and become established.

Type: Warm-season grass

ammophila arenaria fl  European beach grassBloom: Green spike up to twelve inches long appears in spring and early summer and turns tan with maturity.

Size: 2-3’ H

Light: Full sun

Soil: Sandy, well-drained

Hardiness: Zones 5-10

Care: Low maintenance

Pests and Diseases: None of significance

Propagation: Division in spring or fall; rarely produces seeds.

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