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Did You Say Monkey Grass?

by Laura Horwitz, All About Lawns Columnist

Want to have a beautiful green lawn with minimal lawn maintenance? Believe it or not, it's possible with durable, thick monkey grass. Contrary to its name, monkey grass isn't actually a grass type, but rather a flowering or evergreen perennial--this is why many species have beautiful flowers at certain times of the year.
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  • Eliminate patches
  • Less weeds
  • Make it thicker
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Monkey Grass Benefits:

  • Tolerates drought, heat, shallow soil, and even heavy traffic
  • Grows thick which helps prevent weeds
  • Little to no fertilizer required
  • Doesn't need mowing
  • Stays green year round

Monkey Grass Types

All monkey grass falls into two categories: Liriope (lily turf) or Ophiopogon (mondo). Liriopes prefer shade or filtered sunlight (except sunproof and John Burch that like sun) and can withstand most soil types. Some have beautiful flowers, such as "Big Blue" or "Monroe White," that may work well as a border to your lawn.

Mondo grass (part of the genus Ophiopogon) thrives in well-drained soil and shade, and it's a fine, dark grass, making it look elegant in formal or small gardens. Dwarf mondo remains naturally short, which is perfect for rock gardens or walkways as well.

Monkey Grass Tips

  • Prune brown foliage in spring before new growth starts
  • Use only minimal water in winter
  • Works wonderfully in the shade of big trees
  • Prefers slightly acidic soil
  • To keep it from spreading, you need dividers at least 8-12 inches deep, so that the roots can't penetrate, otherwise it will take over your entire garden

Although native to China and Japan, monkey grass has become especially popular in the southern United States, which has its optimal climate. For a low maintenance year-round green lawn, monkey grass is an optimum choice.


About the Author
Laura Horwitz has worked as a freelance writer and researcher for five years in both London and the US. She had a monthly landscaping and tips column for the Sussex County magazine RH Review, and her articles have appeared in Film Focus, 6 Degrees Film, and BizBash magazine.

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