Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Liriope, to Trim or Not to Trim?

A versatile evergreen ground cover for Metro-Atlanta, Lirope (pronounced “lur-eye-oh-pee”) is used as an edging material for walkways, driveways, flower beds, and as a groundcover for shady spots in the garden. Liriope forms close mats of dark-green or variegated strap-like foliage and is a great landscaping plant that tolerates a wide range of soil types, performing well under a variety of landscape conditions.

Call it what you like, Monkey-Grass, Lily Turf, Border Grass or Lirop (common name is pronounced “leer-e-op”) is often used for shady beds. The well-behaved clumping Liriope is known as Liriope muscari.  It is so named because of its blue summer flowers that resemble grapes or blue grape hyacinths with the botanical name of Muscari. The running form is Liriope spicata and is much more aggressive, and while perfect for slopes or street embankments, it can overtake a landscape spreading by both runners and seed. A smaller relative is known as Mondo Grass or Ophiopogon.

Whichever Liriope grows on the properties you manage, Crabapple LandscapExperts will evaluate the necessity of trimming back the narrow, dark green leaves. University of Georgia researchers point out that it is not necessary to remove the foliage unless it is winter-damaged or diseased. With the mild winter we are having across Georgia this season, there has been no winter damage to speak of. Sometimes the plant is susceptible to a foliage blight ( Anthracnose fungus) which often detracts from its appearance during late fall and through the winter. Diseased leaves with fungus lesions are best cut off. They are not composted, but placed in the trash to be removed from the property to prevent the spread of disease. .

Crabapple LandscapExperts recommend that the removal of the old leaves should be done before the end of February, before new growth springs up in the center of the plant. A lawn mower set very high is a practical way to remove the old leaves, or sharp hedge shears can be used, based on the quantity of Liriope. Annual pruning is never recommended for Mondo Grass. At the same time, last year’s tall flower spikes can be pulled for a better appearance. For a blue ribbon appearance, call the LandscapExperts atCrabapple to care for your properties. 

Photo credit thanks to and  

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