If you’re a gardener, you may be wondering if it’s safe to use play sand in your garden.
After all, it’s cheap and readily available, so it seems like a great option.
But is it really the best choice?
Play sand generally has high levels of salt which could make it potentially bad for your garden plants. You can reduce the salt levels by washing the sand or by leaving it in a pile over the winter to allow the weather to flush it through.
Why would you add sand to soil?
There are a few reasons why you might want to add sand to your soil.
If you live in an area with heavy clay soils, adding sand can help to improve drainage and make it easier for roots to penetrate the soil although there are better ways to do this, such as adding lots of dry organic materials – compost, straw etc.
Sand can also help to loosen compacted soils and make them more aerated and there may be occasions when you need a sandy soil for certain types of plants – palms, for example, enjoy a sandy, warm soil.
And if you’re looking to improve the drainage in your garden, sand is a good option.
What types of sand can be used in a garden?
The best type of sand to use in your garden is horticultural sand.
This is a type of sharp sand that has been washed and screened to remove any impurities.
It’s often used in potting mixes and as a planting medium for succulents.
It’s specifically produced for horticultural use and will not be treated with any adverse chemicals or other things harmful to plants.
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What types of sand should be avoided
Not all sands are suitable or good for garden use and you should avoid using them if possible.
Play sand – as we’ve already mentioned, this type of sand generally has high levels of salt which could be harmful to your plants.
Building sand – this is the type of sand used for making concrete and mortar. It’s too fine and doesn’t have good drainage properties and may also have been treated with chemicals to aid the building process.
Beach sand – this may seem like an obvious one, but it’s worth mentioning.
Beach sand is often full of salt, shells and other debris that can be harmful to your plants.
How much sand should I add to my garden soil?
If you’re just starting out, it’s best to add a small amount of sand to your soil and then work up to larger amounts.
A general rule of thumb is to add 1 part sand to 10 parts soil.
So, if you have 2 cups of soil, you would add 1/4 cup of sand.
Remember, you can always add more but it’s difficult to remove sand once it’s been added.
If you’re adding sand to improve drainage, you’ll need to add a larger amount.
A good rule of thumb is 1 part sand to 2 parts soil.
So, if you have 2 cups of soil, you would add 1 cup of sand.
Again, you can always add more but it’s difficult to remove sand once it’s been added.
How do I add sand to my soil?
The best way to add sand to your soil is to mix it in with a spade or rake.
A good time to add sand would be when you are digging the garden or adding compost to your soil.
Combine the sand making sure that it is mixed well with the soil to get the best results.
Can I add too much sand to my garden?
Yes, it’s possible to add too much sand to your garden.
If you add too much, it can make the soil too dry and difficult for roots to penetrate.
It can also make it difficult for water to drain through the soil which could lead to problems with waterlogging.
Adding sand to your garden soil can be beneficial but it’s important to use the right type of sand and not to add too much.
If you have sand that is not horticultural sand, such as play sand, then you should wash it through as much as possible to remove any harmful compounds. If you can, leave non horticultural sands outside, over winter, to allow the weather to act on it.
Remember, add sand slowly to your soil, you can always add more but it’s difficult to remove sand once it’s been added.