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06/19/18- Monkey Grass

By Meaghan English, TrueSouth Properties Wildlife Specialist

This year, the weather has gone from one extreme to another in the blink of an eye. The humidity has most gardens and flower beds looking a little sad and wilted. One grass that can survive almost any summer element is creeping liriope. More affectionately known as monkey grass, creeping liriope is a very common invasive that can be seen throughout the Gulf coast.

Most people in the south are all about landscaping and curb appeal Southern women want their yard to be featured in a Southern Living magazine or at least win “Yard of the Year”. This means pouring heart and soul into the flower beds and keeping a very manicured front lawn. In every other yard, I bet you could find monkey grass. Unfortunately, this species isn’t confined to just that yard. Chances are, monkey grass/creeping liriope is now all over the neighborhood and has become a force to be reckoned with. Monkey grass is a very dense evergreen that is mostly used for ground cover. Tufts or clumps of grassy stalks stem from one stem and have a very distinct lilac flower that appears in the summer. It also has green and/or black berries that shoot up in late summer and continue to hang on through winter. This highly aggressive invasive spreads by underground stems and also tiny corms (an underground storage bin used by plants to escape extreme weather conditions such as droughts or winters) that give life to many more generations of liriope! This invasive thrives in full sun or shade and is not picky when it comes to soil type…making it very hard to contain! Most seeds are dispersed by animal or bird which is how most clumps of monkey grass end up in our forests! It is not uncommon for many landowners to find monkey grass/creeping liriope in unmanaged food plots during the summer months, especially if the land is adjacent to a “yard of the year”.

Monkey grass is just another species to cross off the DO NOT PLANT list. It is very aggressive and very tolerant which makes it very difficult to kill. Monkey grass will choke down native vegetation and take over any open space it can reach! To avoid an infestation, it is best to physically remove clumps of grass as soon as they are spotted.

By: Meaghan English

My name is Meaghan English, a wildlife specialist with TrueSouth. I graduated from Auburn University with a bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Ecology and Management and I have grown up with a passion for hunting. I knew from an early age that I was not only interested in the harvesting of wildlife, but I was also very interested in their biology and management. I decided that I not only wanted to be a wildlife enthusiast, I want to be an educated wildlife specialist. I will be using that grand education as a member of the TrueSouth team contributing wildlife blog articles!

My first hunting memory flashes back to when I was six or seven years old. Like any other Saturday during deer season, my dad had told my mom to get me ready because we were going hunting. Of course I was ecstatic! I was not ecstatic about the hair bow my mom made me wear with my camouflage (she wanted everyone to know I was in fact a fashionable girl). The entire way to Perdue Hill, Alabama, my dad told me that today would be the first day I would actually shoot my first deer and I knew I was ready. We pulled up to the camp, unloaded, and fed all the “camp cats”. Before we headed to our stand, I had spotted three kittens that I simply could not leave behind so I stuffed them in my jacket. After walking what seemed like five miles, we finally made it to the “Pressbox stand” (with my smuggled kittens) and sat down. Dad continuously pestered me to be quiet, but I wasn’t that worried about shooting a deer, I had kittens! Eventually, the sun began to sink behind the trees and a spike (without olfactory senses) entered the field. When it was safe to quietly move, dad handed me the gun and I handed him my three kittens. I slowly pulled the gun up and placed my cheek against the stock. Dad told me to breathe slowly and pull the trigger when I was ready. Sure enough, I pulled the trigger and the spike hit the ground. We high-fived, exchanged kittens again, and climbed down to see the kill. It certainly was not a wall hanger, but a huge chapter in my life was started that night. My dad and I still hunt together to this day and we practice quality deer management at all times.

My ultimate goal is to provide clients with a survey of flora and fauna that currently inhabit a specific tract of land and, if desired, how to properly manage that land for the species that are found there. All feedback is greatly appreciated and I look forward to working with you!

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