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Lawn Talk: Monkey Grass Landscapes

by Alex Russel, All About Lawns Columnist

When it comes to choosing a grass for landscaping a garden, many gardeners choose monkey grass because it is one of the most durable and low maintenance perennial grasses available.

Monkey grass works well in many aspects of landscaping: to mark paths, to fill in stepping-stones, or as a border for flowerbeds, lawns, and rock gardens. It doesn't conflict with roots of other plants, and because it doesn't need a lot of light, it makes an excellent ground covering in shady areas. Also, it never needs mowing.

Grass with Flowers

Monkey grass grows as high as 16 inches. Its dark green leaves are smooth and grass-like, half an inch wide, and fine to medium in texture. Flowers are usually white or white-tinged with lilac, but the flowers don't grow very tall and tend to remain hidden in the grass tufts.

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Unwanted Monkey Grass Invasion

But be warned: Monkey grass' reliability can sometimes give you more than you bargained for. Gardeners often complain that monkey grass invades the areas it is only supposed to be bordering.

Here are a few solutions to unwanted Monkey Grass expansion:

  • As with all landscaping plants, make sure that you really need it. Landscaping grass, no matter the type, is always more work.
  • Plant the monkey grass roots in a pot or plastic container and bury it in the dirt.
  • Bury bricks between the monkey grass and the lawn or flowerbed.
  • Learn to divide the monkey grass and prune it at the appropriate time of year.

Divide Your Monkey Grass

According to master gardener and TV host Joe Shirinski, it is imperative to weed old growth from monkey grass clumps. Old growth tends to tangle up into unattractive knots and helps initiate unwanted growth spurts.

But overall, Monkey Grass is a good way to organize your garden. Like all landscaping plants, however, you need to keep it in line.

About the Author
Alex Russel is a freelance writer living in Brooklyn, NY. Since graduating from Syracuse University he has worked at many different media companies in fields as diverse as film, TV, advertising, and journalism. He holds a dual bachelor's degree in English and History.

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