How and When to Trim a Monkey Grass Border

Monkey grass growing on either side of a brick walk

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:

    New growth on monkey grass

  • 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.

Julie

Further Information

20 COMMENTS

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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?

  4. 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!

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

    • 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 https://noppukappo.info/radio/ask-questions/ and fill out the form to send it to us. Thank you for your interest.

  9. 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.

  10. 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 !

  11. 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

  12. 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!

  13. 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!!!

  14. 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.

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