South Atlantic Region. This region extends from the Virginia capes to Key West. Sea oats is the
dominant plant; however, both American beachgrass and bitter panicum will successfully establish
dunes, when planted in combination with sea oats, especially in the northern part of the region.
Sea Oats (Uniola paniculata). More persistent than other stabilizing species, sea oats does not
provide much initial protection. It grows slowly, is difficult to propagate, and is not widely available
commercially. However, once established, sea oats provide excellent protection. To provide initial
protection, sea oats should be planted in mixes with American beachgrass and bitter panicum to the
Carolinas and with bitter panicum farther south. As the other grasses thin out, sea oats will spread and
dominate the dune.
Saltmeadow Cordgrass (Spartina patens). This plant is more commonly used in marsh plantings
(see prior discussion), but it will frequently invade a beach area and create small dunes, which will
support other vegetation. It is particularly well suited for this use on low, moist sites where periodic salt
Bermuda Grass (Cynodon dactglon). Although this is not a prominent dune species, it can be
used very effectively in special situations. The coastal hybrid is deep rooting and rapidly establishing and
can be used to revegetate areas where American beachgrass
has been killed by insects or disease.
Turf hybrids will, when properly managed, perform well on the dune environment, where they form a
more traffic resistant stand than other types of vegetation.
Gulf Region. The region extends from the gulf coast of Florida to the Mexican border. Sea oats
and bitter panicum are the dominant dune stabilizing species. Other species include railroad vine and
saltmeadow cordgrass. Establishment of sea oats, bitter panicum, and saltmeadow cordgrass should
follow prior recommendations. Local variations exist, and the landowner should consult local
agricultural extension agents and others about differences in technique and management of plantings of
Railroad Vine. (Ipomea pescaprae). This plant is one of the more prominent pioneer species in
this region. It is not generally planted because it is somewhat less effective in trapping sand than dune
grasses. It is, however, capable of rapidly spreading over foredunes, and transplants of the vine may be
included as part of a grass establishment planting.
North Pacific Region. This region extends from the Canadian border to Monterey, California.
European beachgrass and American dunegrass are the dominant sand stabilizing plants of the region.
American beachgrass may also be applicable in the area.
European Beachgrass (Ammophila arenaria). This plant is inexpensive and used widely in this
region. Although it effectively traps sand, it forms dense stands with little outward spread, causing the
resulting dunes to have steep windward slopes. Another disadvantage is that it will often exclude native
species, making it difficult to establish mixed plantings.
American Dunegrass (Elvmus mollis). Although this grass is native to the northwest, it is more
difficult and expensive to propagate than either European or American beachgrass. The grass tends to
produce low, gently sloping dunes, often preferable to those dunes built by European beachgrass.
South Pacific Region. This region extends from Monterey, California, to the Mexican border.
While some of the beach grasses discussed above (e.g. , European beachgrass) are applicable in the