Monkey Grass Control: Best Way To Remove Monkey Grass

Monkey Grass Control: Best Way To Remove Monkey Grass

By: Nikki Tilley, Author of The Bulb-o-licious Garden

Is monkey grass invading areas of your lawn and garden? Do you find yourself asking, “How do I kill monkey grass?” You’re not alone. Many people share these concerns, but don’t worry. There are things you can try to rid this intruder from your landscape. Keep reading to find out how to get rid of monkey grass.

Ridding the Garden of Monkey Grass

Monkey grass is normally a favorite addition among gardeners, as it is extremely easy to grow and care for. But it’s also the plant’s hardiness and carefree nature that can result in its invasiveness, as the eagerly growing monkey grass begins to turn up in unwanted areas of the landscape. That’s when monkey grass control becomes necessary.

How to Get Rid of Monkey Grass

Removing monkey grass can be difficult but not impossible. There’s really no single best way to remove monkey grass. Rather, you need to find the method of monkey grass control that works best for you and your particular circumstance. That said, here are some ideas for ridding the garden of monkey grass:

Dig it up – Digging up unwanted plants is the easiest way of removing monkey grass, but it may also be the most time consuming depending on how much you have. You should dig up clumps and surrounding soil to ensure that you get out as much of the root system as possible. Once it’s dug up, carefully check for any stragglers. You can treat the area (along with freshly cut roots) with an herbicide as well to prevent further growth. Keep in mind, though, that this could take more than one application depending on how much root growth was missed.

Contain it – You can install some type of barrier or edging to keep monkey grass roots under control, minimizing its spread. These should be at least 12 to 18 inches (30-46 cm.) down for best results. This can be done at the time of planting or during summer growth. When combined with digging, you’ll have a better chance of ridding the garden of monkey grass. For example, after removing monkey grass clumps, you can cover the area with plastic or landscape fabric. This should help suffocate any remaining roots or rhizomes in the ground.

Call for backup – When all else fails, it’s time to call in a professional to help you get rid of monkey grass. Professional landscapers or gardeners can usually do all the dirty work for you, putting their knowledge to work as well. They can normally provide any additional tips you may need once the grass has been removed should any “jumpers” crop up.

Knowing how to get rid of monkey grass is a matter of having patience and choosing the method of removal that works best for you. With vigilance and time, your monkey grass control efforts will eventually pay off.

Note: Chemical control should only be used as a last resort, as organic approaches are more environmentally friendly.

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Read more about Monkey Grass

Crystal from Batesville, MS

Getting rid of monkey grass is tough. Here is what I would do if I were you:

Monkey grass needs to be contained with a root barrier to keep it from spreading. That is because it spreads by rhizomes and bulblets. Without a root barrier of at least 12-18 inches deep, any digging, thining, or smothering you do will not work for very long. The Monkey grass will simply send out scout (roots) and pop up somewhere else in your yard.

For the summer, your best bet is to install a root barrier around whatever you can and keep it mowed as short as possible to keep the snakes away. You can also start to dig out what your can just make sure you get all of the rhizomes. In the fall, cover what remains with a tarp and hope that by the following spring it will be dead. If more pops up, the soil will be easily workable to dig out what remains. (If you prefer, you can also cover the Monkey grass now, but I'm assuming you don't want the eyesore during the summer.)

Regular thinning and dividing is another strategy for areas that cannot easily be covered with a tarp. A root barrier will still need to be installed these areas to prevent further spreading. No matter what methods you use, there are not any easy solutions. It may take a couple of seasons for you to get rid of it completely, so be patient.


Here is a very good article with pictures showing the differences of the types of grasses and how to control them. I have liriope and keep it controlled by thinning it every other year. . / 0,28012,229980,00.html
Hope this helps,

I have had monkey grass for many years and have never seen a snake or any other critters in our around it. You can put a chemical called round up on it and it will kill any vegitation in that spot. My husband cuts ours back with a week-eater.

Or you can dig it up and send all you can to me. I will take if off your hands, I am in need of it for a creek that overflows, contact me at butlersj59 AT

Any grass I need to get rid of, I put plastic over it for a few weeks, till it dies, good luck.

Send all you want to me. I would be thrilled to put it around my rock flower beds and banks.

We have tried Round up multiple times. It looks better after we spray it. We have used a weed eater to cut it out. I have mulched it over every year. It just springs back up.

Hi, do you still need monkey grass?

Gardeners will love the low maintenance requirements of planting monkey grass in the garden. As long as you occasionally water the plants, and weed throughout the growing season, you won’t get very many issues with your monkey grass plants.

The plants grow readily, and to contain their spread, the gardener will need to dig up the monkey grass every 3-years and divide the roots. Replant the clumps in different regions, and let the grass continue its spread through the growing area.

Planting Liriope

Liriope is a popular plant, especially throughout the South. You can find it for sale in just about any nursery.

Garden centers typically sell liriope in small sprigs or larger clumps. A tray of nine to 12 finger-sized sprigs of liriope may go for around $10. Bigger pint- or quart-sized plants can cost a few to several dollars per plant.

Liriope grows in full sun, filtered sun, or full shade. It can handle the weather in hardiness zones 5 through 10.

It’s not necessary to do much to prepare a bed for planting liriope. To do so, simply follow the below instructions:

  1. If there is sod growing where you want the liriope, first remove the sod.
  2. Till the soil and cover with mulch. The mulch will help retain moisture and keep weeds down while the liriope is getting established.
  3. When you’re ready to plant, you can plant small sprigs of liriope several inches apart. Bigger clumps can be separated from each other by a foot or so.
  4. If you wish to have the area fully covered, plant closer together.

That’s it! This hardy, low-maintenance grass will grow quickly and without much care.

How and When to Trim a Monkey Grass Border

Does monkey grass need to be pruned? If so, when and how should I trim it back? -Ben

Monkey grass (Liriope sp.) is a wonderful border grass and groundcover that’s perfect for hard to mow spaces and provides an excellent border to separate planting beds from lawns. Trimming monkey grass isn’t mandatory but as the leaves age, they start to brown on the tips and eventually can look pretty ragged.

Each spring, monkey grass grows a fresh set of leaves, so it can easily recover from an annual pruning. By trimming back your monkey grass, you get rid of the old growth and have a fresh, green border.

Here are some tips on how to cut back the monkey grass in your yard:

  • When to Trim Monkey Grass: Like other types of ornamental grasses, the best time to cut back monkey grass is in late winter or early spring. That way it will stay green all winter and insulate its roots from the cold, then after trimming the monkey grass only be bare for a few weeks while new leaves grow.
  • How to Trim Monkey Grass: You can go over monkey grass with a lawn mower set to the highest setting, or use a string trimmer or clippers to cut it back to about 3” high. If your monkey grass has already sprouted, you’ll probably need to cut it by hand, so you don’t cut the nice rounded tips off the new shoots.
  • Tidy Up Your Border: This is also a great time to pull any weeds and shape up your border by digging away clumps of monkey grass that might be straying where they don’t belong.
  • Further Information


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    We are in the middle of a very dry season, so I have been watering my monkey grass. Some of the ends of the leaves are turning tan/brown. Am I watering too much or not enough?
    Thanks -RW

    I have lots of Monkey grass,but this we have had an extremely hot summer and all of the leaves on my monkey grass are turning brown. I was wondering if it would be safe to cut back the first week of September. Also I would like to if it be safe to separate and place in different planters in Septemer.

    In the picture for this article, what kind of watering setup does it use for the monkey grass streches?
    I’m thinking I might want to use monkey grass for a perimeter inside a sidewalk-bound planter.
    Note: I’m terrible at keeping plants alive.

    I’m trying to start with a small planter – about 8′ x 16′ – that is bound on all sides by hardscape or house.

    In that area I have a drip system for watering.
    Two palms, and I’m looking to add hostas, ferns, maybe some color of some type, and possbly monkey grass around the outher edge.

    What kind of watering might that perimeter monkey grass need?

    My monkey grass has turned brown , yellow and died out in spots,what is wrong with it?It looks terrible. I have a lot of it lining my property and big gaps just ruin my lawn.the first 3 or 4 years I had it ,it was beautiful now it’s awful. Drainage is good……Help!

    My monkey grass looks terrible need help on getting it back on track it’s dry brown and yellow

    My dogs & PUPPY TOO, are eating the grass blades, & berries. Are the berries poisenes? I keep my pets away from the monkey grass, but .concerned about what they MAY have eaten! Thanks.

    Money Grass is horrible and I absolutely HATE it. If you don’t cut it back or manage its growth, it will literally grow wild. In my opinion it’s nothing but a nuisance weed.

    I’ve bought 2 houses now that were both owned by older ladies who laid down Monkey Grass as a border to their garden or other plants. But as they got older and couldn’t maintain it, the Monkey Grass grew out of control and was choking out the other grass and plants.

    To make matters worse, you literally have to completely dig it out roots and all or it comes back year after year. When I dig up Monkey Grass I usually have to dig it up for 2-3 years before its fully eradicated. All it needs is a single root to grow anywhere in your yard.

    My advice to save yourself a whole lot trouble and hassle and go with anything but Monkey Grass.

    I am having the same problems with monkey grass in my our backyard as Tom in the letter above. I bought an older home with monkey grass around a tree. What once was probably a circle around the tree has spread out in places, and the circle has become quite irregular. The monkey grass has also put out shoots into the surrounding lawn, scattering multiple single shoots over the lawn. It takes considerable time and effort to dig up each shoot. It would take several years to get rid of them all. We tried tilling an area of spreading monkey grass on the back of the lot. Now it has grown back healthier and more vigorous than before.

    monkey grass is taking over my yard ? What can I do ?? please help

    I use weed and grass killer around the outside edge and the inside edge to keep monkey grass in control. I usually mow it down every year or every other year.

    i’m disappointed to not see one answer to anyone’s questions here.

    I agree with Jane. Very frustrating and dissapointing to not see anyone’s questions answered.

    Hi Reeves,
    The comment section under each of our posts is for visitors to leave a comment and/or communicate with each other. While we read every comment posted on our site, with over 5,000 articles and videos, it is not possible for us to answer individual questions. We do, however, answer questions on our weekly Today’s Homeowner radio show. If you would like to submit a question for consideration on the show, go to and fill out the form to send it to us. Thank you for your interest.

    I have an answer for controlling Monkey Grass. I live in a forest area. My home of about five years has quite a bit of monkey grass in areas where trees prevent most other types of ground cover from growing.
    I have some gaps in the Monkey grass areas where leaves were left for too long. So, it appears that the monkey grass can be controlled by covering the monkey grass with something that would prevent light from getting there like a tarp that staked in place.

    Is there a way to stop the blue flower from turning into the berries on the Liriope muscari , and are the berries actually the seed ? Very messy when they fall off. Last year I sniped all flowers off before it turned to berries and disposed . A lot of work . Thanks !

    My monkey grass is turning brown on the tips. I live in southwest Oklahoma. Am I watering too much or not enough? I usually water every evening or every other evening. Thanks

    I would like to answer the questions on mundo / monkey grass. We started a major project 6 yrs ago and learned by reading as making mistakes!

    What is the best pesticide for monkey grass ? My monkey grass is chewed up this summer. Also, how can I trim it and the tips stay green? Thank you for your help.

    Lots of comments about monkey grass as borders – I have that as well but also my mom started planting monkey grass on slopes where dirt was washing down. Monkey grass seems very effective preventing this and holding the dirt in place. I think it’s beautiful and love how it lushes thick as the years go on. Embrace the growth and learn to use it effectively – lovely borders and prevents dirt sliding. The off shoots don’t bother me at all as they just blend in with the regular grass.

    I use a hacksaw to trim my monkey grass

    I cut mine first of jan i use a hedge trimmer. been same highth,coller, just let it grow.i live in Ky has been my sidewalk border for 43 yrs.

    9. Let the Meadow Return!

    Cheryl Magyar / Insteading

    Maintaining a traditional lawn is a lot of work. You’re essentially forcing a monoculture to exist on land that wants anything but that! If you have the space for it, and the freedom to do what you want on your land without your HOA getting their panties in a bunch, consider returning the majority of your lawn back to what it was originally. For many of us, this could be a prairie, meadow, or a desert xeriscape depending on your location.

    • All USDA Zones
    • Most low-maintenance ground cover

    This return could be as simple as just letting “nature do its thing” on your property. The birds will poop out some local seeds, the wind will carry in others, and eventually, you’ll start seeing more variety than boring old grass. This is how my parents handled their lawn. They still mowed it when needed to keep it from growing too tall, but when it came time for a middle-school wildflower collection project, I found 15 of the 20 specimens required from my own backyard!

    If you want to restore your land to a healthy, biodiverse zone of totally native plants, however, you’ll need to take out the old and bring in the new. Some beautiful and useful plants just can’t get a foothold if grass and clover are in the way. You will need to research what local, native plants could live in your area. Websites like Grow Native can help you rediscover what your land once grew.

    Meadows benefit from being mowed (or scythed) only twice a year. So the weekly task of mowing the lawn is one you won’t need to put on the to-do list! Instead, you can welcome the hosts of butterflies, bees, pollinators, and birds that benefit from the food-rich habitat you’ve returned to your patch of Earth. For more information and motivation to convert at least part of your yard into a beautiful meadow, check out this article.

    We may have inherited a legacy of carefully nursing non-native grasses into a bizarre, artificial carpet of featureless green, but we don’t need to accept that as our lawn-fate. Make your yard more than just an obsolete status-symbol, and transform it into something beautiful, aromatic, edible, and biodiverse.

    Have any of you dared to spurn convention and gotten rid of your lawns for something better? If you have to deal with an HOA, what are your strategies for trying to make them see the light? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

    Watch the video: Propagate Liriope By Divison