Liriope Gone Wild! - How to remove?

jchungJune 2, 2011

I bought my current house a couple years ago and the previous owner had planted liriope as edging. At the time I didn't know what it was, so I didn't cut them back. I noticed that the liriope was sprouting in different parts of the mulch beds, well outside of their clumps which made it look very messy.

Earlier this year, I decided I wanted to pull out the liriope and replace it with something else, so my GF and I dug up all the bunches over a couple weekends.

My problem now is that I still see the liriope sprouting up around the edges of my lawn and at different parts of the mulch bed. I've been picking them by hand every couple days for about the past two months.

Whats the best way to get rid of the liriope? I'd like to get it cleaned up before I put something else in.

In case its not obvious, I'm a bit of a noob when it comes to lawns and gardening.



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Joo..short of using some obnoxious herbicide, you're doing all you can do. Instead of "picking" sprouts, take a shovel with you and dig down and around each sprout. Holding the dug clump over a colander, carefully separate the roots of the sprout from the soil. Throw the roots away, not in a compost pile.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2011 at 12:14PM
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I had to get rid of a VERY wide, very INVASIVE strip of this self-inflicted crud I was naive enough to plant years ago. The tall green type. If you don't dig out ALL those runners, you won't get rid of it. After a very heavy rain, a lot of the time you can just loosen the soil with a spade and pull the thing out carefully getting that long white root in tact where it insists on persisting. I had to just keep at it until I finally saw the last of it. I tried spraying it. No luck. Those underground roots will ALWAYS come back unless you dig them out ALL OF THEM. Good luck. I don't know if you can tell, but I absolutely hate the stuff.

To add insult to injury, I had given some to my neighbor. Now I have it coming back into my yard under his fence where its now a wide strip over there. (Be careful what you give to your neighbor) This battle will never end.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 12:44AM
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Ugh. Thats what I was afraid of. Another question then....

The liriope is sprouting at the edges of my lawn, I was thinking of putting in edging around the mulch beds... If I were to dig deep enough, and put in a barrier, would it prevent the liriope from growing further into my lawn? If so, how deep would I have to put the barrier? And any recommendations on type of material that would last through all 4 seasons?

Basically... my mulch beds currently have no edging. I was thinking of doing a brick edging around it with an additional strip for the lawn mower wheels.



    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 8:35AM
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Yes, Liriope spicata can be contained by using a barrier. Unfortunately, you have to go as much as 12-18" deep, depending upon the nature of your soil, to stop the rhizomes. Standard bed edging material, like the offerings from Oly-Ola (carried by most landscape supply firms) only average 5" deep. You're looking at 20-30 mil poly bamboo barrier.

Installing an 18" deep barrier is a real chore, and can be expensive as well. It might be better to continue to dig the Liriope. You can also try treating young sprouts with Glysophate (RoundUp). It may take more than one application, but eventually you can kill the underground rhizome system, and new sprouts will become fewer and fewer. Use a sponge applicator rather than a sprayer. Use it carefully, because it will kill any turfgrass it touches.

It's a pity the previous owner planted Liriope spicata instead of Liriope muscari. Muscari is slower to establish, but is a clumper rather than a spreader.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 9:04AM
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Thanks for the suggestion! I'll try the roundup with a sponge/brush!

Now... Liriope Muscari... will it never spread? Or does it just spread less slowly?


    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 1:04PM
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L. muscari does spread, slowly, via short stolons. A clump will generally expand a few inches in diameter per year. When it gets to a point beyond which you do not want it to go, it's easy to stop it by simple root pruning.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 2:06PM
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I would get rid of it. I have a barrier, not quite as deep as Donn describes, and this stuff has gone under and is coming up in a thick gravel path that has weed barrier under the gravel from my neighbors yard. I am uphill from it so its traveling way down and then up through 5" of chat (or whatever you call that sharp dense gravel stuff). I have to dig out the root in the dirt part by the path and then dig it up through the gravel trying not to break it.

If its just the stragglers you are dealing with after getting rid of the solid mass planting, loosening the DAMP soil by just barely lifting it up with a shovel, grabbing the top of any plant showing itself and gently pulling works very well and leaves the lawn grass and soil in tact. The roots are strong enough to do that without breaking if the soil is moist. You will eventually get them all if you keep at it.

Anger at the stuff was a great energy motivator for me. I had a period when I was obsessed with getting this stuff out.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 3:33PM
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