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Getting Rid of Monkey Grass

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The person I bought my house from went crazy with Monkey Grass. I was wondering if there is any way to totally get rid of it? We have tried digging it up but it just comes back. We have a small child and I'm concerned about snakes hiding in it. Please help.

Hardiness Zone: 7b

Crystal from Batesville, MS


Hi Crystal,

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.

Good luck!


About The Author: Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services. Contact her on the web at


Recent Answers

Here are the recent answer to this question.

By Linda Asbury [1]09/07/2009

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

By kathleen williams [23]03/21/2009

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

By Susan B. (Guest Post)01/12/2009

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

By cheryl [2]06/05/2008

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.

By Tina Brown [5]04/09/2008

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. ... scape/article/0,28012,229980,00.html
Hope this helps,


Thrifty Fun has been around so long that many of our pages have been reset several times. Archives are older versions of the page and the feedback that was provided then.

Archive: 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.

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.


RE: Getting Rid of Monkey Grass

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. (08/15/2006)

By linda

RE: Getting Rid of Monkey Grass

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

RE: Getting Rid of Monkey Grass

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 downunderchick

RE: Getting Rid of Monkey Grass

Send it to me! :) I have a LOOOONNNGGG section of fence all around my back yard I'd love to line it up on! Anyway, Maria here's a picture of monkey grass. (08/15/2006)

By mef1957

RE: Getting Rid of Monkey Grass

RE: Getting Rid of Monkey Grass

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

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