diggingthedirtSeptember 20, 2012

Wondering if anyone else likes liriope as much as I do, and quick question about it.

I have a long boundary with a neighbor's lawn, on the south side of a mixed border that I've filled to overflowing with Franklinia, hydrangeas, broadleaved evergreens, hellebores, and various other of my favorite plants. Along the south edge, next to the neighbor's lawn, I dug in a line of (somewhat flimsy) landscape timbers to give him a mowing strip, and planted a variety of low-growing things including heath, lavender, and variegated liriope.

The only thing that has really done well along that edge is the liriope; it's been about 5 years and all the lavs are gone, the heath looks kind of sad, and the liriope is spreading really nicely. Problem is that the grass grew under the mowing strip, and has invaded some of the clumps of liriope. I've just dug the whole strip out, and want to replant the liriope but don't really want to re-introduce the grass.

I've read that it's a rhizome; does this mean that I can replant it now, and then dig it in the spring and basically bare-root it to remove every bit of grass?

Maybe it's not hardy in some parts of NE, I'm not sure - and I've read that it can be a monster further south. Here, though, it seems like the ideal ground cover for a neglected spot. I've got it in other areas, ranging from deep shade to bright sun, and it seems incredibly tolerant.

Any advice on getting grass out of the clumps would be much appreciated. I suppose I could pull DiSabato-Aust off the shelf, but that can be such a depressing venture.

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Do you have liriope spicata or muscari? Spicata spreads like wildfire; muscari is slower, but still spreads nicely.

Either way, I think you should be all right replanting the liriope now, after you've cleaned off the roots to make sure they're clean of grass. I'm not clear on why you want to wait until spring to do this. Doing a permanent planting now will give the liriope a chance to form new roots so it will be ready to grow in the spring. You may get some new grass invasions next year, but mulch around the liriope and keep after the grass and you should be able to limit it,

I'm in northern New England (Zone 5b) and my spicata is a little bit invasive, but easily controlled. The muscari is behaving itself and doing nicely. Both of them are somewhat slow to come back in the spring, so you may want to plant bulbs to fill in the early gaps.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2012 at 10:24AM
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arbo_retum(z5 ,WinchstrMA)

variegated liriope is one of my top 10 plants. i think it is as hearty, or almost as hearty, as hostas, which have survived here even when dug up and dumped on top of the ground for the winter. We recently rescued some var lir from planters of a restnt that had been closed forever, and they were on their way to dying because of no water. we brought them home in a fish bin with some water in it, divided them,planted some, and the others have been in that fish bin (rain etc) and happy as clams. TOUGH plants.

They bloom late, like now, so 'should be divided in spring'
but these had NO PROBLEM being divided last month.

Sooo nan, i think you can do anything you want w/ yours. (And of course, the non-variega. are heartier than the variegated, so you can probably REALLY do anything you want and still have them survive.

i am confused about why you don't want to remove the grass now, but you certainly CAN, and i would.It should be pretty easy actually, because of the wiry separateness of the liriope roots.

i would bang the clumps on the ground to remove as much dirt as possible; put them all in a flat bin of 3-4"of water, as you deal with them, and let the water wash away the soil, which should make the grass removal all the easier.

as important as all this, i would suggest easing your life by installing a grass barrier next to those RR timbers, like a strip of plastic or steel that goes down 5-6".
xo mindy

    Bookmark   September 21, 2012 at 2:57PM
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LOL, Mindy - do you raid abandoned restaurant gardens on dark nights, or in broad daylight?

My plants are L. muscari 'Variegata' - dark blue flower spikes above foliage striped with light yellow. I also have the green and white, and some white-flowering solid green ones. They're not at all aggressive, but certainly ... persistent.

I didn't want to bare-root them now because they're blooming - spring would probably be the time to do it. The clumps are up to a foot across, so getting grass out of the center without breaking up the clumps would be impossible.

Chibimimi, since you mention that they're late to appear in spring, I think I'll replant them whole now, and try roundup on the grass when it sprouts in spring. I don;t use that stuff often, but this might be one of those times when it's the only option.

And, yes, I'm replacing the landscape timbers with a deeper and wider barrier - I have some concrete edgers that should do the job. Now it's just a matter of getting back out there and digging them in.

Thanks to you both! - DtD

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 7:16AM
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arbo_retum(z5 ,WinchstrMA)

Have Shovel; Will Travel.

That's a very specific in-joke for our era i think.
I'm imagining a T shirt with that on the front, and on the back, a woman with a shovel tucked under her armpit and her arms full of assorted dug-up plant clumps :-)

xo mindy

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 4:19PM
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