Asked on Jun 16, 2013

What's an effective way to get rid of liriope? My entire front yard

by Louise
used to be liriope, but dug it all up maybe 5 yrs ago. Planted shade grass which lasted 2 seasons. Then plowed up the yard again and now it's tree mulch with azaleas, hostas, ferns, hellebores and a couple more things. Liriope still comes up and I dig it up from time to time. BUT on the other side of the driveway in the front yard, I still have a jungle of liriope and have decided to eliminate all of it. I've started digging it up and giving it away on Freecycle, but realize digging is going to be more than I want to handle. Seems I read -- maybe on Hometalk -- recently that spraying it a couple of times within a 2-wk period with Roundup or something similar would do the job. Will it? Surely there's a way to eliminate it without digging. And besides, digging won't do unless every underground morsel of it is dug up -- nearly impossible!!!
You can see here where i've started digging up the stuff, but see behind the bare spot where it stretches back for maybe 15 more feet or more?
Here's another view of where I've dug up some, but it stretches several feet behind the forsythia.
MORE of the stuff. It stretches several more feet to the right and several feet behind the forsythia on the left of the photo.
  32 answers
  • Kimberly Barney Kimberly Barney on Jun 16, 2013
    Plain lithrope is extremely aggressive unlike the variegated type that mounds. However, if you are diligent and patient, you can get rid of it. You will need to dig it up and spray it with a plant killer several times.
  • Louise Louise on Jun 16, 2013
    Dig it up AND spray? Nooooooo!!!!!! This stuff might be the end of me.
  • Becky P Becky P on Jun 16, 2013
    I agree! Dig up and spray! lol.....I had a good batch at my other house that stayed nice and round, but my mom gave me some at this house that spread all over, so I had to do the "dig & spray" dance.
  • Louise Louise on Jun 16, 2013
    So, are you saying to dig it up and then spray the ground that it was in? That doesn't make a lot of sense, but I'm not that much of a gardener.
  • Evelyn McMullen Evelyn McMullen on Jun 16, 2013
    I'll take it, can't get it to grow in one area of yard, replanted 3x, frustrating.
  • Louise Louise on Jun 16, 2013
    Evelyn, you can't get LIRIOPE to grow???? Your yard must be possessed!! Drive on up to Norcross and dig it all up for me! :-)
  • Becky P Becky P on Jun 16, 2013
    no, just spray any shoots that will show up eventually, the ones you missed when digging.
  • Vicki Yawn Andrews Vicki Yawn Andrews on Jun 16, 2013
    I just covered my unwanted liriope with garden or weed fabric...left the plants I wanted for edging and covered the other little boogers that were taking over my hosta bed. Its a slow death for it, but it beats digging and spraying. Once you add mulch you never know it was there.
  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Jun 17, 2013
    Perhaps instead of digging it up and then giving it away on Freecycle, you could offer it for free to those who are willing to come and dig it up.
  • Evelyn McMullen Evelyn McMullen on Jun 17, 2013
    Louise, strange that I do seem to have one area that's possessed. Half a row doing great, the other half nothing. But the nutgrass is taking over that bed. Good luck yours, getting others to dig it out is THE way.
  • Louise Louise on Jun 17, 2013
    Douglas, a few yrs ago I posted the liriope on Freecycle telling those who wanted it to come dig all they wanted. I had several take me up on that. But I still ended up doing most of the removal myself because there was so much of it. I emailed my county extension agent to ask his opinion, too, and here's what he wrote: "I have never intentionally tried to eliminate Liriope but I have killed spots of it on several occasions when I have sprayed bits of poison ivy located in patches of liriope. I have been using one of the common broadleaf herbicides like 'Weed B Gon' or any product with similar ingredients. Look for a product that contains 2,4-D and Dicamba. You may also see additional ingredients like MCPP or Quinclorac. You can buy a 32 ounce bottle of this stuff for less than $20 and it should cover about 10,000 square feet. Plan to spray the area twice at about 10 days apart. Don't cut the liriope first. You want lots of leaf tissue to absorb the herbicide. This chemical seems to work better when it's hot and dry. Try to spray when rain is not predicted for several days. I also have found that adding a little soap (dish washing detergent) seems to make it stick better and be more effective. I add about 5 drops (half a teaspoon) to each sprayer full of liquid that I use. I add that last so it doesn't make so many bubbles when you add the water. Caution. Read the label and do what it says. These herbicides work well and will be equally effective on other broadleaf plants like your azaleas or roses or especially if you have a veggie garden nearby."
  • Lynda Lynda on Jun 17, 2013
    Has anyone tried horticultural vinegar? Or just plain 5 or 10% plain white wine vinegar?
  • I see ads all the time in Craig's list here in Raleigh saying that people can have the Liriope free if they come and dig it up. How about doing that?
  • Louise Louise on Jun 17, 2013
    I've thought I'd post this on Craigslist and see if anyone will come dig.
  • Louise Louise on Jun 27, 2013
    I think I probably found a way to kill liriope. I sprayed the parts I don't want with Roundup a couple of weeks ago and plan to spray one more time, this weekend if it doesn't rain. See how it's turning yellow?
  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Jun 28, 2013
    In this case, Louise, yellowing leaves are a good sign.
  • Louise Louise on Jul 04, 2013
    Question about this yellowing liriope. Since it was getting very yellow and brown, I decided to see how easily it pulled up. It comes off at the ground super easy. But the question is, are the roots underground dying, too? If not, I'm wasting my time killing the green parts if the roots are going to grow again. And if the roots ARE dying, which I hope is the case, should I leave the yellow/brown parts alone to allow that to happen or will it happen if they're pulled off or not? AND another question. Will having applied RoundUp to this, is that going to have an affect on anything else I might want to plant there? If so, how long do I have to wait to plant new things? On most of the areas where I'm killing the liriope, I'm only going to put tree mulch there since part of this effort is to make things look less like a jungle.
  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Jul 05, 2013
    Yes, Louise, the roots should be dying. I'm not saying some of them won't grow back and that you won't have to reapply, but you've made a start. There is no evidence that Roundup has a residual effect in the soil. You could replant in that area now if you wanted to.
  • Louise Louise on Jul 05, 2013
    Thanks, Douglas. You're always very helpful!
  • Barbara R Barbara R on May 19, 2014
    They're selling it on ebay for $1+ a clump~20 clumps for $25! You might want to make a house payment! ;)
  • Louise Louise on May 19, 2014
    I've been posting it on Craigslist for people to come dig up what they want.
  • Jeannie Andrews Jeannie Andrews on Feb 11, 2015
    what is it?
    • Louise Louise on Feb 11, 2015
      @Jeannie Andrews The grassy stuff in all the photos.
  • Jay Jay on Oct 26, 2016
    I had a large patch in my yard that had spread from my neighbor's landscaping. It took two hard hits with Roundup to kill it off. I then reseeded the area with turf-type fescue, which came in quite well. The liriope has not come back to this area yet.
  • Buck Buck on Jul 14, 2017

    If it's liriope spicata aka creeping lily turf, then digging it up will not work because those roots are networked to other liriope plants. I tried to dig up a 6x4 patch in my backyard about 12 or so years ago, and I dug down deep, about 18 inches, and used a screen sifting box I'd made over a wheel barrow to sift the dirt, plus I dug a full foot into my St Augustine just to make sure. After replacing the dirt and resodding the area I had those damnable things popping up all around the area I had dug up. Next I used regular Roundup, then Spectracide weed killer, then Ortho weed b gone, then finally Roundup Poison Ivy killer. Some would brown the liriope blades and others didn't do anything but kill the St Augustine. Problem is that regular Roundup only has 3% Glyphosate, and mixing it according to the instructions will not do jack to kill Liriope. Instead you have to mix the regular Roundup about 5 times the strength called for in the instructions, and that will get real expensive real fast. So finally I conceded defeat and did nothing more than mow it and not water it. A big stretch of this time since 2005 included a devastating drought here in Texas, so I said the hell with watering it. I believe during one of those summers with a multitude of 100+ degree days it didn't rain for more than 60 days, but the Liriope Spicata continued to live and grow and caused me to have to keep mowing during those hot months. Finally, a couple years ago I came across a Homo Depot product called HDX, which is a 41% Glyphosate product, sort of a generic Roundup on steroids. I first used it around mid February to spot spray danelions with the sprayer's round nozzle, and by the third week of March I started to notice these 10 to 12 inch round bare spots every where I had sprayed those dandelions, and by bare spots I mean no sign whatsoever of the Liriope. In fact, as I write this comment here in the middle of July those bare spots are still entirely free of Liriope, though there may be a clump of crab grass in a few of them. Anyway, that HDX kills this evil Liriope and sends them straight to hell. By the way, I later found out that this HDX herbicide is a generic of the commerical Roundup Pro (and/or Roundup Pro Max) because the Roundup patent finally expired, and which contains a slightly higher percentage of Glyphosate but also costs a great deal more. Nevertheless, if you're digging you're just wasting your time and effort. Spray it instead with a high percentage Glyphosate product, whether HDX, Roundup, Hi-Yield or others and be done with it. Yes, you'll have to re-sod, re-seed or re-hydromulch, but the important thing is this weed dead and done for.

  • Don Don on Oct 12, 2020

    how strong do you mix the HDX? per the label or stronger? Still add the soap too?

  • Mary Dodge-Smith Mary Dodge-Smith on Nov 22, 2020

    These chemicals sound effective and.are also reportedly carcinogens. Not. A great trade off. Still digging and covering with block plastic.

  • J Brown J Brown on Nov 22, 2020

    I post plants I no longer want on craigslist for free and ALWAYS have lots of takers in in East coast central Florida. People are thrilled to get free plants and root able cuttings as well. Many are "new" gardeners and I love giving them helpful advice when they come. Many come frequently and proudly share pictures of what they got before.

  • Don Don on Nov 24, 2020

    i tried the HDX glyphosate approach above with the high concentration HDX from Home Depot and it works! it takes about 6 weeks to work but it does work. It can be handled safely if you use the right PPE.

  • Deb K Deb K on Jul 10, 2023

    Hi Louise, hope this helps you.

    If you want to get rid of monkey grass, the only way to control it is to use a product that contains glyphosate, the active ingredient in Round-Up. Be careful spraying Round-Up in your lawn as it is a non-selective herbicide and will kill both the Liriope and your desired grass.

  • Mogie Mogie on Jul 12, 2023

    The plant sends out runners all during the growing season. When you see them starting to grow out into the lawn or garden bed, remove the runners. But you have to stay on top of this or you won't get rid of the stuff. Good luck!

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Jul 14, 2023

    Call in a Garden Company who can help with Weed eradication!

  • Claudia Claudia on Apr 08, 2024

    My yard is overrun by liriope which was here when I bought the house. I want to get rid of it ALL and the suggestions above are helpful. However, as appealing as it is I don't think I'll offer it to others because it is invasive. Birds eat the seeds and distribute them which results in liriope choking out native plants. My advise to others is to NEVER plant this monster. It pops up everywhere because of the underground runners.