Home Improvement Expert Danny Lipford

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.


Further Information

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9 Comments on “How and When to Trim a Monkey Grass Border”

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  1. Ralph Wheeler Says:
    July 7th, 2012 at 10:46 am

    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. Charlotte Watts Says:
    August 20th, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    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. Gregory Thomson Says:
    October 8th, 2012 at 1:03 am

    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. Vicky Hagans Says:
    July 3rd, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    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. A Byars Says:
    September 17th, 2013 at 9:44 am

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

  6. Raul DeMoura Says:
    January 7th, 2014 at 1:48 pm

    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.

  7. Tom Says:
    May 31st, 2014 at 12:45 am

    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.

  8. Ann Denzer Says:
    December 10th, 2014 at 12:47 am

    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.

  9. charles butler Says:
    January 13th, 2015 at 5:32 pm

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

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