How to Get Rid of Monkey Grass

Lead Image
What You'll Need
Shovel or garden hoe
Pruning shears
Root barriers
Commercial herbicides

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.