Will roundup kill monkey grass?

Monkey Grass Control: Best Way To Remove Monkey Grass

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 of 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.

The following question came in to our Ask the Expert blog, where lawn care authority and Spring-Green franchisee trainer Harold Enger fields a variety of questions. This particular individual wanted to know one thing: how to get rid of monkey grass.

“I have a lot of monkey grass in my yard; do you recommend mowing to cut it back or do you recommend a trimmer? Thanks”

“Mr. Morris,
Thank you for submitting your question. I am not sure if you are looking to control and remove your Liriope (monkey grass) or just want to keep it in check. There are two varieties of Liriope that look very similar. One variety usually stays in small clumps, but the other variety spreads by underground roots called rhizomes. This is the type that will spread out and often invades lawns.

If you want to get rid of monkey grass, the only way to control it is to use a product that contains glyphosate, the active ingredient in Round-Up. Be careful spraying Round-Up in your lawn as it is a non-selective herbicide and will kill both the Liriope and your desired grass. The Liriope has to be actively growing in order to control it and it may require two to three applications before you are able to get rid of your monkey grass. If you have a Bermuda grass lawn, you may be able to spray Round-Up to control the Liriope before the Bermuda breaks dormancy without damaging it. Mowing it does not usually affect the growth of the plant, and it will come back.”

Do you have a lawn care question you’ve been dying to get answered? Ask our Lawn Care Expert, Harold!

How To Kill Monkey Grass With 3 Simpler Ways

Is monkey grass invading on your garden and lawn? Do you find it difficult in getting rid? Many homeowners share these concerns; you don’t have to worry anymore.

Ideally, there are ways that you can do to get rid of monkey grass from your landscape. And removing monkey grass at times can be difficult but not that impossible.


How To Kill Monkey Grass With 3 Simpler Ways

Hardly, no single way is best in removing monkey grass. Rather, you’ll need to apply a method that works best for you even in a particular circumstance. That said, here’re some ideas on ways to get rid of monkey grass.

#1. Dig it up

Digging up monkey grass which is an ‘unwanted plant’ is one of the easiest ways of getting rid of monkey grass, but it may be time-consuming especially on commercial landscape.

First, you need to dig up clumps, and the surrounding soil as this will ensure you’ve to get out as much root system as you could. Once it’s dug up, check carefully for any stragglers.

After that, you can treat that area (along with some freshly cut roots) using Round-up as this chemical will prevent further growth of the grass. Keep in mind that this could take a bit more than a single application though depending on the missed roots.

#2. Contain it

Alternatively, you can install a barrier on your backyard edging that will keep monkey grass roots under one control, hence minimizing its spread. Preferably these should be of 12 to 18 inches’ dip into the soil for best results. And this can best during summer growth or time of planting.

When combined with digging, you will have a better chance of getting rid of this intruders ‘monkey grass’. In simple terms, just after uprooting monkey grass clumps, cover up the area with some landscape fabric or plastic. As this will help suffocate some remaining rhizomes or roots in the backyard.

#3. Call for backup

Lastly, when all else fails, I think it’s time to call a professional for help to get rid of monkey grass. Usually, professional gardeners or landscapers can do all dirty work, while putting their knowledge to work. They can also provide any additional tips that you may need once it has been removed, such as should any “jumpers” crop-up.


Knowing how to kill monkey grass is just a matter of choosing the method that works best with you and having patience. With vigilance and enough time, your monkey grass killing efforts will eventually pay off.

4 Ways on How to Kill Monkey Grass Effectively

I’m sure many of you have heard about that pesky monkey grass and are currently finding ways to kill it! After all, not many people like the look of it, especially when they want plain and beautiful greenery. But how can you kill it safely and without any issues with your lawn?

Read on as I show you the ways on how to kill monkey grass effectively!

How To Kill Monkey Grass Effectively

Monkey grass is sometimes used as borders for the garden or as covers for the ground. However, many people see it as a weed as they have their similarities. Fortunately, killing monkey grass isn’t as tough as it sounds. Here are the following steps and tips to follow:

Digging The Monkey Grass Up

Digging is the easiest way you can get rid of monkey grass, though it’s also the most time-consuming!

Follow these steps:

  • Mow the grass so it’s an inch within the soil to damage the plant crowns.
  • Dig the grass, removing as many plant roots as you can. Make sure to remove and dispose of ALL monkey grass to prevent new growth.
  • Observe the affected area for the next two weeks and see if there is any growth. If so, then dig up these roots again and spray it with white vinegar, ensuring that you don’t spray other plants nearby. The white vinegar can kill plants.

Containing The Grass

Contain and control the monkey grass by setting up a barrier of edging. This minimizes the spread of monkey grass, best done during summer or when planting new seeds. Make sure that the barrier is at least 12 to 18 inches down for the successful results.

I also recommend that you combine the barrier with digging, which helps you really get rid of all the monkey grass. Opt to cover the affected area using landscape or plastic fabric, which suffocates remaining roots or rhizomes underground.

Using Chemicals To Kill The Grass

If you want to kill the monkey grass as quickly and easily as possible, then using herbicides which contain glyphosate is effective. This type of herbicide can really kill off weeds and the like because of its strong chemicals.

Here are some tips to follow when applying the herbicide:

  • Don’t spray the monkey grass fully grown, but to cut and apply the herbicide. This will take around two to three applications before it starts to die out
  • Do spray when the plants are growing active and to do is using a sunny day without any strong winds when rain isn’t predicted in the next day.
  • Do not use this method if there are edible plants next to the monkey grass.

Call For Professional Help

If push comes to shove and none of these methods work, then it’s best to call for a professional who will get rid of the grass for you. Not only do they do all the work, but they’ll ensure that the monkey grass is fully killed and removed quickly so you won’t have any worry or exhaustion doing it yourself.

Furthermore, they will provide additional advice necessary after removing the monkey grass. This maintains the grass health without any weeds and other jumpers. But take note, they can be quite pricey, so make sure to compare quotations and the professional’s reputation.

Wrapping It Up

I hope that this article on how to kill monkey grass helped you out! So don’t wait any longer and start following these tips now.

If you have any questions or want to share your tips and experiences when killing monkey grass, then comment below. Your thoughts are much appreciated.

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How to Get Rid of Monkey Grass

Monkey grass is a gardener’s favorite choice. Also called “Ryu” or the “Dragon’s Beard,” it’s commonly used to create exotic borders around flowerbeds in lawns or along walkways. This grass doesn’t harm other plants like weeds do, and it needs minimal maintenance. Its long leaves and white flowers look beautiful, but if it isn’t regularly pruned, it can become highly invasive.
Like most other grass types, monkey grass tends to spread quickly through underground runners. A garden overburdened with monkey grass can soon be ruined as it covers other plants, cutting-off their oxygen and sunlight supply. Removing monkey grass is difficult, so you need to use a combination of the following methods.

Step 1 – Manually Removing It

The simplest and most effective method to remove monkey grass it to manually remove it. Dig around the monkey-grass bed, as just pulling out the plant doesn’t help. Dig up the grass with a shovel or garden hoe. After digging-up the area, water it profusely to choke and leftover grass roots.

Step 2 – Thinning Leaves and Using Tarps

After manually removing what you can, you can restrict monkey-grass growth by regularly thinning the leaves by ripping apart the clubbed leaves. Cover pruned grass with a tarp. Regularly thinning the leaves removes overlying, protective foliage, and the tarp captures sufficient heat inside to damage the grass.

Step 3 – Creating Root Barriers

If the above methods don’t work, you should try more intensive methods, like creating a root barrier. While the soil bed is still wet, install 12-18 inch long root barriers into the soil.

The barrier could be landscaping fabric, plastic sheeting, or some mulch. The barriers ensure that the monkey-grass roots and rhizomes cannot spread any further. Deep-seated rhizomes are gradually destroyed, as the barrier cuts-off their nutrition supply. The best time to try this method is in summer, when the high temperatures help dry the plant out.

Step 4 ­– Using Commercial Applications

Many herbicides are retailed specifically for monkey-grass removal. However, spraying the grass once won’t solve the problem. You will need to do it continuously. For best results, apply an herbicide after cutting through the grass spread with a shear to help it penetrate deeper through the cut surface.

Step 5 – Planting Vines

After digging-out the unwanted grass, you can plant fast-spreading vines like red honeysuckles, mandevilla, or jasmines. These vines quickly cover the area around them, depleting the remaining monkey-grass roots from sunshine and moisture. Vines can be grown for just a season or two to completely remove the monkey grass, and then uprooted.

Depending on your point of view, you will either consider monkey grass a lovely ground cover or an unwanted weed. If the latter is more of your mindset, these tips for controlling monkey grass will help you get rid of your unwelcome garden visitor.

Check Craig’s list free advertisements on most weekends in the summer here in NC and you will see ads for free monkey grass plants touting the words “all you have to do it dig it up yourself.” There is a reason for these ads. It is the way clever gardeners keep their liriope plants under control without having to do it themselves!

What is Monkey Grass?

Liriope, commonly known as “monkey grass” or “creeping lilyturf” is a grass like plant from Asia which is often used as a ground cover or border plant. Oddly enough, in spite of the common names, it is neither a grass or a lily. It is a member of the family Asparagaceae. Given the right conditions, monkey grass will grow aggressively and can take over a border in no time at all.

I have monkey grass in several areas of my garden, but I have to keep an eye on it, or it will spread everywhere. The perennial plant spreads by means of runners which are easy to transplant to other areas of the garden.

Did you start out with a nice border of liriope and found that it has started to invade your lawn or garden beds? Do you often find yourself asking “how can I get rid of this darned stuff? Never fear, you are not alone. Many gardeners feel the same way.

Unfortunately, if left untended, monkey grass can be quite difficult to remove since if forms dense clumps that seem to go on forever. The following tips will help you get rid of or control monkey grass in your yard.

Controlling Monkey Grass

There is no “one way fits all” method of getting rid of monkey grass. A lot depends on how early you get to the job and how entrenched it is in your yard or lawn.

Start Early and Stay on Top of the Job.

If you are only trying to keep the liriope under control but want to allow some to stay in the yard, you’ll need to be vigilant. The plant sends out runners all during the growing season. When you see them starting to grow out into the lawn or garden bed, remove the runners.

It is much easier to keep it tidy than to have to dig up a whole garden bed that’s been taken over.


If you let monkey grass grow unmanaged, you will have a job getting rid of it!

I know you were looking for an easy answer but the best remedy involves some real work – digging. If you have tried just pulling up the runners, you will know that they break off easily. Digging the monkey grass will get the roots and will keep the spreading nature under control.

Use a spade or shovel to dig down around the liriope. Till the area around the removed plants and over the ground with plastic or newspaper to help choke out further growth. This takes patience, since you may need to repeat this process for several months if you want to get it all.


Since the plant spreads by means of underground runners, adding barriers is a good practice for controlling monkey grass. The barriers must go down into the soil quite a way – 12-18″ is a good size. If you use barriers that are too shallow, the plant will simple go under them and come back up on the other side.

The barriers do not need to be plastic. Other ideas are trenches, landscaping fabric, plastic sheeting, or mulch.in channels dug near the plant

Containing it

Controlling monkey grass when you want to use it as a border is easy if you think ahead when you plant it. Did you know that you can control it in your garden and still have the lovely border that you want by simply planting it in containers in the first place? \

Instead of planting the liriope directly into the soil, sink the plant pots side by side and mulch over them. The look will be the same, but the plant won’t be able to send out underground runners and you won’t have it invading nearby garden spaces. You’ll have a lovely border without the hassle of having to keep removing spreading monkey grass babies!

Note on this method. The plants will eventually become pot bound and will need to be removed and divided. You an either use the extra plants in other areas of the garden, give them away or add them to the compost pile.

Grass Specific Herbicides for

If you don’t mind using chemicals in your yard, a grass specific herbicide can used for controlling monkey grass. Doing this early in the growing season is best, so that you don’t let monkey grass get a strong foot hold in the garden. Some that will work are the following: (affiliate links)

  • Poast
  • Fusilade
  • Grass-b-Gone

Know your types of Liriope!

Some types of liriope are fairly easy to keep under control. I have Liriope muscari and a variegated liriope called Liriope muscari ‘Variegata’. Both of these are a gentle clumping type of monkey grass. They can be controlled easily by digging and manually removing the unwanted plants and roots.

If you love the plant and want to grow it, the variegated variety is much slower growing and far less invasive. I have had some for 4 or 5 years and it comes back every year but barely spreads.

Other types of liriope, particularly liriope spicata, are much more aggressive, making digging and tilling very difficult. If you have this variety planted you will be in for a shock when you start to dig it out.

Photo Credit Wikimedia

When you consider the effort that goes into controlling monkey grass, you can see why it’s either loved or hated by gardeners. Which category do you fall into?

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small commission from the sale, but the price is the same for you. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Getting Rid of Monkey Grass


I have a natural area in my front yard that I have planted with hundreds of tulips. It also has a border of monkey grass. The monkey grass is invading the entire natural area. I have sprayed it several times but the monkey grass has a wax coating and the spray has no effect. I want to kill the monkey grass inside the area without killing my border or the dormant tulip bulbs. Please advise me how to do this. Thank you. Advertisement

Joe from Harrisburg, NC



Monkey Grass (also called mondo grass, lily turf or snake beard) often expands farther into beds and borders than gardeners and landscapers anticipate. Like you’ve discovered, sprays don’t work well as a practical means of control due to the waxy coating on grass leaves and the fact that the grass is usually planted close to desirable ornamentals, making it difficult to isolate for spraying. The best way to get a handle on a Monkey Grass invasion is to dig it up and divide it. If left unattended, old growth will result in a tangle of large clumps that eventually spurs a round of vigorous growth, causing the grass to spread. This grass is popular with gardeners, so you might want to pot up the extra clumps of grass into plastic containers and either sell it or give it away. Just make sure that you warn folks to plant the entire pot of grass in the ground to keep it from spreading out of control. After dividing out some of your grass, create an underground barrier between your grass and the tulips using bricks or plastic. Bury it at least 8 to 12 inches deep if you want to keep growth in check, and plan on dividing the grass on an annual basis if necessary.




Monkey grass is very invasive and even though it is pretty, I have quit using it for this reason. The way I always had the best luck is to just pull it up after a good soaking, so that you get ALL the roots. Even if you want to keep it, it has to be thinned ever so often.

By linda

First, know that I am not joking. My answer is to sell it on ebay! Go look for yourself, people are selling it and others are buying it. Look at the descriptions others are using.. spreads easily, etc. I almost bought some myself this summer. 🙂 (08/15/2006)

By Deb

I don’t know what Monkey Grass is, but I had luck killing ivy by adding some dish detergent to the weed killer. It apparently helps coat the waxy leaves. Good luck. (08/15/2006)

By Christine Anderson

By Mary

I have a border of monkey grass around two oak trees in the front lawn. Two years ago I replanted the whole front yard with fescue and I now have a beautiful semi-established lawn. Unfortunately, I have noticed more and more of the monkey grass seedlings growing in the front lawn. Yes, the border of monkey grass is still there. Question: are the seedlings coming from the dropped seeds of the monkey grass and being transferred throughout the lawn by rain? If so, how do I get rid of the seedlings? (09/03/2007)

By mark

University of Maryland

This liriope plant is infected with a crown-rot fungus.

(University of Maryland)

Q: I have a border of liriope on the south side of my brick building, which is partially shaded by a hedge. It gets sun in the late afternoon. The last few years, about two-thirds of it has died. Only the third that gets the least sun is still alive. I would like to replant liriope if there are some adverse conditions I can correct. Otherwise, what would be a good replacement?

A: Liriope is usually one of the toughest and most versatile landscape plants, but one problem can take it down – a disease called crown rot.

It’s caused by a strain of the fungus (Phytopthora) that caused the great Irish potato famine of the mid-1800s and that still is a common threat to rhododendrons.

What usually happens is that a leaf or two in a liriope cluster first turns yellow. Then leaves collapse and whole clumps die as the disease spreads. You might also notice browning at the base of the leaves.

If that’s what you’re seeing, there’s no good way to stop this rot. Fungicides only temporary slow the spread (if even that), and you’d have to continually reapply them to keep the disease at bay. The most effective ones are expensive and not readily available to homeowners.

Unfortunately, the fungus can remain in the soil to reinfect new liriope. So yanking the current planting and trying again with fresh liriope isn’t a good option.

Wet soil or rainy conditions foster the disease. But even if your site is a soggy one, adding compost to create raised beds probably wouldn’t be enough to overcome the infected soil (assuming you have Phytopthora).

On the bright side, this disease is species-specific, meaning you can switch to a different plant to solve the problem.

The closest substitute I can think of is Japanese forestgrass, an arching ornamental grass that grows about 18 inches tall. Go with the green-bladed type, though, as opposed to the variegated or golden types. That version is the most sun-tolerant.

As with most grasses, forestgrass browns out in winter and gets cut to a stub. It’s a fairly slow-grower and doesn’t need regular division like the taller grasses.

Another possibility is leadwort (plumbago), a spreading groundcover that grows about a foot tall and gets blue flowers in late summer. The leaves turn blood red in fall before dropping for winter.

If you want something evergreen, take a look at the creeping sedum ‘Angelina.’ This one is a low, mat-forming, spreading groundcover with succulent golden foliage that turns orange-red over winter before “golding” back up in spring.

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