Sand Lovegrass

sand love grass

Scientific name

Eragrostis trichodes (Nutt.) Alph. Wood


Sand lovegrass is a native, warm-season, short-lived, leafy, perennial bunchgrass which reaches mature heights from 2.5 to 4 feet with a shallow, wide spreading root system.  Sand Lovegrass grows best on sandy soils with an annual precipitation of 18 to 36 inches.  Sand Lovegrass typically greens up two weeks earlier than most of the other native grasses and is very palatable.  When overgrazed, it will decrease relative to other grasses.  Seeding rates are very low due to extremely small dark round seed it produces.  Sand Lovegrass is commonly found as a component in native areas along with hairy grama, western wheatgrass, and sand dropseed.

Taxonomy of Sand Lovegrass

 Kingdom   Plantae
 Subkingdom     Tracheobionta
 Superdivision   Spermatophyta
 Division    Magnoliophyta
 Class  Lillosida
 Subclass  Commelinidae
 Order   Cyperales
 Family    Poaceae
 Genus    Eragrostis
 Species    Eragrostis trichodes (Nutt.) Alph. Wood

Plant Characteristics of Sand Lovegrass


 32 to 48 inches
 Growth habit  bunchgrass
 Bloom period  summer
 Sun requirement  full sun
 Leaf foilage color   green
 Seeds per pound  3,800,000
 Minimum soil temperature for germination   50 to 55 ºF
 Soil pH range  6.0 to 8.5
 Planting Rate  1 PLS lb/1000 sq ft or 2.5 to 3.0 PLS lb/acre
 Planting Depth  surface to 1/16 inch
 Planting season  March to May

Uses of Sand Lovegrass

Erosion Control

The adaptation to sandy soils makes Sand Lovegrass an excellent vegetation for the prevention of soil loss on areas highly prone to wind erosion.


Sand lovegrass is a highly palatable forage that is preferred by grazing livestock.  It is sometimes referred to as “ice cream grass” because of its palatability. Early spring growth gives it an advantage over other warm-season grasses. The plants remain green well into the fall and provide fair forage value even late in the fall.


Sand lovegrass makes a unique accent plant as well as very appealing in mass plantings.  The fine leaves and the large branched panicle with florets at the end of the branches are very attractive in the landscape.

Commercially Available Cultivars of Sand Lovegrass


Cooperatively released by the Kansas Agriculture Experiment Station and USDA’s Agriculture Research Service and Soil Conservation Service in 1971.


Cooperatively released by USDA Soil Conservation Service and the Texas Agriculture Experiment Station in 1971.

Nebraska 27

Cooperatively released by the Nebraska Agriculture Experiment Station, USDA Agriculture Research Service, and the USDA Soil Conservation Service in 1949.

Sand Lovegrass Seedling and Growth Guide

8 days after planting

18 days after planting                                                                   28 days after planting

34 days after planting                                                                     65 days after planting