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How to Transplant Black Mondo Grass

By Larry Parr ; Updated September 21, 2017

Black mondo grass is drought and insect tolerant and requires little maintenance. Its black leaves make it a unique grass. It grows well in shady areas, something many other grass varieties do not do, which makes this a good choice for shady lawns or for large areas which get little attention. Black mondo grass grows quickly and fills in large areas nicely. It is easily transplanted as long as it is kept moist during the entire process. Since black mondo grass does most of its growing during the summer months, transplanting is best done in spring, giving your new lawn an entire growing season to become firmly established. Black mondo grass is a warm-weather grass and grows best in USDA hardiness zones 5 through 9.

Fertilize the area where you want to transplant your black mondo grass with 1 inch of organic manure and then water well. Keep the area damp but not soggy for seven days to encourage the growth of weeds and other plants.

Stop watering the area 24 hours before spraying with a non-selective herbicide designed to soak in through the leaves of any plant it coats and kill the roots. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for mixing. Do not spray if there is any wind and be careful not to get any of the spray on plants you wish to keep. Do not spray if rain is predicted within the next 24 hours. Stop watering following your herbicide spraying.

Wait seven days for all sprayed vegetation to die. Rake the area thoroughly with a hard steel rake, removing all dead vegetation and all other debris.

Spread 2 inches of organic manure over the area and rototill to a depth of 6 inches, mixing the organic matter into the soil.

Rake once more with your hard steel rake, removing any roots or other matter that has been turned up and leveling the area.

Water for seven days, keeping the area damp but not soaking. Spray all new weeds that sprout with a non-selective herbicide mixed according to the manufacturer's instructions and wait seven days for the new weeds to die. Rake one last time.

Dig up the black mondo grass you wish to transplant using a sharp spade. Black mondo grass has a deep tap root, approximately 4 inches in length, and you want to get as much of this root as possible when you dig up your clumps for transplanting. Shove your sharp spade 4 inches into the soil and then angle it horizontally directly under your mondo grass. Lift the spade after shoving it 6 to 8 inches and lift out a section of grass with as many roots attached as possible. Spray the roots with water from your spray bottle as soon as the grass is removed from the ground and wrap in damp newspaper. Keep the roots damp at all times. Break up your clumps of black mondo grass into tufts approximately 4 to 6 inches in diameter using a trowel or your hands. Do not worry about the shape of the tufts--keeping the roots attached and damp is the most important thing.

Use a spade or a trowel to dig holes deep enough to hold the roots of your black mondo grass. The holes should be 4 to 12 inches apart and at least 4 inches deep. Place a 4- to 6-inch tuft of black mondo grass in each hole and press the soil around it, making certain that all roots and rhizomes (underground roots that grow new plants) are covered.

Water the area well and keep it moist but not soaking wet. Your black mondo grass will begin filling in the spaces between tufts. You will have a continuous carpet of mondo grass within three years.


Things You Will Need

  • Black mondo grass sod or tufts
  • Non-selective herbicide
  • Garden sprayer
  • Hard steel rake
  • Organic fertilizer
  • Spray bottle
  • Rototiller
  • Spade
  • Water

About the Author


Larry Parr has been a full-time professional freelance writer for more than 30 years. For 25 years he wrote cartoons for television, everything from "Smurfs" to "Spider-Man." Today Parr train dogs and write articles on a variety of topics for websites worldwide.