How to Kill Monkey Grass: A Comprehensive Guide

To kill monkey grass, use glyphosate-based herbicides or manually dig up the plants, including the roots. Monkey grass, also called mondo grass, is a ground cover that can become invasive and take over garden beds.

Glyphosate-based herbicides are effective in killing the grass, but they can also harm other plants and should be used carefully. Manual removal can be time-consuming but is a safer method for surrounding plants. Wear gloves and protective clothing when handling herbicides and be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Alternatively, use a weed barrier or landscape fabric to prevent monkey grass from spreading in the first place.

How to Kill Monkey Grass: A Comprehensive Guide


Understanding Monkey Grass

Monkey grass, scientifically named liriope spicata, is a ground-hugging ornamental plant that grows in dense clumps, making it a popular choice for landscaping. While it is known for its beautiful purple or white flowers and its ability to grow fast, monkey grass can also become a menace if not well-tended.

In this section, we examine the characteristics of monkey grass, discuss its problems, and answer the question – what is monkey grass?

What Is Monkey Grass?

Monkey grass belongs to the evergreen family of plants, often referred to as lilyturf. The plant is native to east asia and can thrive in both sunny and shady conditions, making it versatile and a popular choice among homeowners. Knowing what to look for when identifying monkey grass is essential in treating this plant properly.

  • It is a low-growing plant that can grow at a rapid pace.
  • It has arching, grass-like leaves that can grow up to 18 inches long.
  • Its flowers can bloom in purple or white, measuring up to 8 inches long.
  • It can quickly spread out to adjacent lawns and gardens, making it challenging to control once established.
  • It has a robust root system that can help it survive in harsh environmental conditions.

What Are The Characteristics Of Monkey Grass?

Monkey grass has many characteristics that set it apart from other plant species, which makes it both a desirable and problematic plant.

  • Growth rate: monkey grass can grow at a fast pace, with a mature plant reaching up to 12 inches in diameter in a single year.
  • Versatility: the plant can thrive in different environmental conditions, from full sunlight to partial shade.
  • Leaves: its green leaves can grow up to 18 inches long and are flexible and easy to maintain.
  • Flowers and seeds: monkey grass blooms in late summer or early fall, producing purple or white tubular flowers and black seeds in small berries.
  • Low maintenance: monkey grass requires minimal maintenance, making it a favorite among homeowners.

Why Is Monkey Grass Considered A Problem?

While monkey grass can be a beautiful addition to any yard, it can also present significant problems if left unchecked.

  • Invasive: the plant can spread rapidly and even invade adjacent areas, including lawns and gardens, making it challenging to control.
  • Takeovers: since monkey grass grows fast, it competes with other organic species, reducing biodiversity and leading to overdependence on the plant.
  • Maintenance: while monkey grass is low maintenance, it still requires care if you don’t want it to become a problem. Regular trimming and maintenance are necessary to keep the plant from spreading beyond its designated area.
  • Lack of aesthetic appeal: if not correctly tended to, monkey grass can grow out of control, creating an eyesore that disrupts the beauty of your landscaping.
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Understanding monkey grass is essential for its proper cultivation and eradication. With this knowledge, you can make informed decisions and take the necessary steps to take care of your garden effectively.

Eliminating Monkey Grass Through Physical Removal

Monkey grass is a persistent, unwanted plant that can be tough to get rid of. While there are several methods to eliminate it, including chemical control, we will discuss physical removal in this post.

Preparing Your Tools For Removal

Before you start physically removing monkey grass, make sure you have all the necessary tools at hand for the job.

  • Garden gloves
  • Pruning shears
  • A shovel or a digging tool
  • A wheelbarrow or trash bags
  • A hoe or a rake

With these tools in hand, you will be well-equipped to get rid of monkey grass effectively.

Step By Step Guide To Physically Removing Monkey Grass

Follow these step-by-step instructions to physically remove monkey grass from your garden or lawn:

  • Put on your garden gloves to protect your hands from the sharp edges of the grass blades.
  • Use pruning shears to trim the grass as close to the ground as possible. This will make it easier to dig up and remove the roots.
  • Use a shovel or a digging tool to dig out a section of the monkey grass, making sure to get as much of the roots as possible. You may need to repeat this step a few times to remove all the monkey grass.
  • Transfer the removed monkey grass to a wheelbarrow or trash bags.
  • Repeat the process until all the monkey grass has been removed.
  • Use a hoe or a rake to break up any remaining soil and roots where the monkey grass was growing.
  • Dispose of the removed monkey grass and any other plant debris in a safe and environmentally friendly manner.

Disposing Of Removed Monkey Grass

Now that you have successfully removed the monkey grass from your garden or lawn, it’s essential to dispose of it properly.

  • Compost: if you have a compost pile, add the removed monkey grass to it. It will decompose over time and add nutrients to your soil.
  • Trash: if you don’t have a compost pile, you can dispose of the removed monkey grass in your regular trash. Bag it properly to avoid spreading seeds or parts of the plant that may regrow.
  • Yard waste: check your local regulations to see if your city offers yard waste disposal services. If so, you can dispose of the removed monkey grass through this service.

Physically removing monkey grass is an effective way to eliminate this stubborn plant from your garden or lawn. With the right tools and techniques, you can get rid of it for good. Remember to dispose of it properly to avoid further spread and regrowth.

How to Trim and Maintain Monkey Grass

Using Chemicals To Kill Monkey Grass

Monkey grass is an invasive plant that grows rapidly, causing damage to your lawn and garden. Most gardeners prefer to remove this plant by using chemicals, but it can be a difficult task if you don’t know what to do.

In this section, we’ll discuss how to use chemicals to kill monkey grass.

Understanding The Types Of Herbicides

Applying the right herbicide is crucial in killing monkey grass. There are two types of herbicides that you can use to get rid of this invasive plant, namely pre-emergent and post-emergent herbicides.

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Pre-emergent herbicides: these herbicides work by stopping the seeds from germinating, and they’re ideal for preventing future growth of monkey grass.

Post-emergent herbicides: these herbicides are used when monkey grass has already emerged. They work by targeting the plant’s leaves and killing it from the top down.

Choosing The Appropriate Herbicide For Monkey Grass

When selecting a herbicide, ensure that it’s safe for the plants around your monkey grass, such as ornamental plants and flowers. You must also make sure that the herbicide targets the specific type of monkey grass growing in your lawn.

Preparing The Area For Chemical Treatment

Before you start treating the monkey grass, make sure to do the following:

  • Wear protective clothing, gloves, and goggles to avoid exposing yourself to chemicals.
  • Cover the surrounding areas with plastic sheeting to avoid contaminating other plants or soil.

Application Of Herbicides

To ensure that herbicides work effectively, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

  • Mix the herbicide in a sprayer following the recommended dosage.
  • Spray the herbicide directly on the monkey grass leaves.
  • Reapply the herbicide in the recommended frequency for complete elimination.

Post-Treatment Care For Your Lawn

After applying the herbicide, give it time to work effectively.

  • Remove the dead monkey grass and dispose of properly.
  • Water the area to help break down the herbicide and wash it away.
  • Replant an appropriate grass or plant in the area to cover up any bare patches left behind.

Killing monkey grass with chemicals requires patience and careful following of instructions. Make sure to wear protective clothing, choose the right herbicide, prepare the area accordingly, and provide post-treatment care for your lawn.

Natural Methods To Kill Monkey Grass

Why Choose Natural Methods?

Monkey grass, also known as liriope, is an invasive plant species that spreads quickly and can be difficult to control. Organic gardeners and those who prefer to avoid harsh chemicals may opt for natural methods of killing monkey grass.

  • Environmentally friendly
  • Chemical-free
  • Safe for people, pets, and surrounding plants
  • Cost-effective
  • Sustainable

Options For Natural Monkey Grass Control

There are several natural methods to control and eradicate monkey grass from your yard.

  • Digging: this is a labor-intensive method but effective in eradicating monkey grass. Dig up the plant and its roots, making sure to remove any pieces left behind.
  • Smothering: cut the monkey grass as low as possible and cover it with a heavy layer of cardboard or newspaper. Cover the layers with mulch or soil to keep it in place. The lack of sunlight will eventually kill the plant.
  • Vinegar: spray undiluted vinegar directly on the monkey grass or mix with water for a weaker solution. The acetic acid in vinegar damages the plant’s cellular structure, leading to its death.
  • Boiling water: pour boiling water directly on top of the monkey grass to kill it. This method is particularly effective for small areas.
  • Salt: sprinkle table salt on the monkey grass, being careful not to let it touch nearby plants. The salt will draw water out of the plant and ultimately kill it.

How To Implement Natural Methods

Implementing natural methods requires careful planning and execution.

  • Choose the right method based on the size of the infestation.
  • Ensure you have the necessary tools and materials.
  • Time the control measures appropriately, taking into consideration weather patterns and growth cycles.
  • Protect nearby plants from the natural control methods, as some may harm desirable plants.
  • Check regularly for regrowth so you can catch it early.

Success Rate Of Natural Methods

The success rate of natural methods varies and may depend on several factors, including the extent of the infestation, the method used, and the timing of the control measures. However, with patience, diligence, and proper technique, natural methods can be just as effective in controlling monkey grass as chemical ones.

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Preventing The Spread Of Monkey Grass

How To Kill Monkey Grass

Monkey grass, also known as liriope, can be a beautiful and easy-to-maintain addition to any lawn or garden. However, this lush ground cover can quickly become invasive if not properly managed. If left to grow unchecked, monkey grass can spread rapidly and choke out other plants.

In this section, we will explore some practical tips for preventing the spread of monkey grass and keeping it under control.

Tips For Preventing The Spread Of Monkey Grass

  • Use a barrier: installing a physical barrier such as plastic or metal edging can help prevent monkey grass from spreading. Be sure to bury the edging at least six inches deep to prevent the roots from creeping underneath.
  • Mow regularly: keeping your lawn trimmed regularly can help control the growth of monkey grass. Be sure to use a mower with sharp blades to prevent tearing the foliage and root system.
  • Remove any runners: if you see any runners or shoots of monkey grass outside of its designated area, be sure to remove them as soon as possible. This can help prevent the plant from spreading and taking over your lawn.
  • Consider removing it altogether: if you find that you simply cannot control your monkey grass, it may be time to consider removing it altogether. While this can be time-consuming and labor-intensive, it may be the most effective solution.

Proper Disposal Of Monkey Grass Materials

When removing or trimming monkey grass, it is essential to dispose of the materials properly.

  • Do not compost: monkey grass is not suitable for composting. Be sure to dispose of it in the regular yard waste collection.
  • Double bag it: to prevent the spread of seeds or roots, double bag all monkey grass materials before throwing them away.
  • Do not burn it: burning monkey grass can release harmful chemicals into the air, and the smoke can be irritating to your eyes, nose, and lungs.

Monitoring Your Lawn For Resurgence Of Monkey Grass

Even after removing monkey grass, there is always a risk of it returning.

  • Inspect regularly: be sure to inspect your lawn regularly for any signs of monkey grass growth. This may include runners, shoots, or small clumps of foliage.
  • Act quickly: if you spot any signs of monkey grass growth, be sure to address it as soon as possible. This can help prevent it from spreading and taking over your lawn.

Long Term Lawn Care Strategies To Prevent Monkey Grass Growth

Preventing the spread of monkey grass requires a long-term approach to lawn care.

  • Choose plants wisely: when choosing plants for your lawn or garden, be sure to research and select species that are not invasive and are suitable for your growing conditions.
  • Maintain healthy soil: healthy soil can help prevent the spread of monkey grass. Be sure to fertilize and add compost regularly.
  • Mulch: using a layer of mulch in flower beds and around trees can help prevent the growth of monkey grass by depriving it of sunlight and nutrients.

By following these tips, you can take control of your monkey grass and prevent it from taking over your lawn and garden. Remember, a little prevention can go a long way.


After understanding everything about monkey grass and how it grows, it is crucial to know how to kill it. Although monkey grass is hard to get rid of, with the right techniques, it is very much possible. You can kill monkey grass by pulling it out manually, using herbicides, or even removing it using a sod cutter.

While herbicides may not be environmentally friendly, they are effective and efficient when used correctly. However, before selecting a herbicide, it is important to read the label and follow the instructions carefully. Once the monkey grass is entirely removed, it is advisable to keep an eye for new growth and remove it promptly.

Finally, with all said and done, it is also important to plant suitable and non-invasive species in the area, to avoid future monkey grass problems. By following these steps, you can effectively get rid of monkey grass and enjoy a beautiful garden.