Best plants for sandy soil #743244 - Ask Extension


Best plants for sandy soil #743244

Asked April 08, 2021, 11:27 AM EDT

Hello, I have a property in Idlewild, Michigan, close to a lake. I need to do landscaping on the property - from growing grass and flowers to planting creating a natural boundary around the property. So, my questions are: what are the best varieties of grass? What are indigenous flowering plants and shrubs to that area and/or which plants or shrubs grow best in sandy soil with tall tree shade? Finally, what plants can I use to create a privacy barrier around the property? Thank you, Tama

Lake County Michigan

Expert Response

Hi Tama, 

Looks like you have an exciting project ahead of you! There are many resources available to you to assist in your planning and executing a landscape plan. There is much emphasis on the subject of shoreline landscaping to help preserve the shoreline and the native critters that call it home while keeping fertilizers and pesticides out of the water. Choosing native plants will help in achieving this goal.

First thing I would suggest is to have a soil test done to see if there are adjustments to be made to support the plants you install. It would be costly and disappointing if the soil did not have the correct pH or nutrients to support your plants. You can purchase a home soil kit from the MSU Extension online bookstore for a fee of $25.00 for the kit, analysis, results and recommendations for corrections should any be needed. Here is the link: Home | MSU Soil Test

Here is a link to a list of native trees and shrubs provided by MSU Extension: 

Choosing native trees and shrubs for your Michigan landscape - MSU Extension

This link is to a database of native plants you can select by sun exposure - soil - season of interest and so on:

Native Plant Database - Grow Native!

Check out what your neighbors have planted; that is always a good indicator of what plants are well adapted to the area. And of course what is pleasing to you according to your design aesthetic. 

I hope you enjoy landscaping your property! 

Thank you for using Ask Extension.

Tracy Demos Replied April 08, 2021, 3:57 PM EDT

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