Identifying and Controlling Henbit

In Summer on May 23, 2013 at 5:21 pm | Written by green-admin

Henbit is a common lawn weed found in the St. Louis area as well as throughout the entire United States. It is a winter annual that thrives in moist soil and a member of the mint family that can be identified by its purple or pink tube shaped flowers. Henbit is very commonly misidentified as purple deadnettle or ground ivy and if it is not identified and removed, it can invade vegetable and flower gardens. This post discusses how to identify henbit and the best ways to control it.

The life cycle of henbit begins in the fall with germination and lasts through the winter into the spring when it flowers. It can grow as tall as 16 inches and is most easily identified by its stems, leaves, and flowers. Its stems are square-shaped and green to purplish in color with circular or heart-shaped leaves arranged opposite on the stem. The stems may have fine, downward-pointing hairs and the leaves are minutely haired. Its flowers which bloom in the spring are purple or pink in color and tubular shaped. They actively grow in the spring and generally die in the summer as the temperature rises.

The most effective weed control against all types of weeds is a healthy, well maintained lawn with a strong root system to choke out unwanted seedlings before they can develop. Yet even the best maintained lawns can still succumb to weed growth and proper weed control practices can go a long way in preventing growth.

The best times to control henbit is in the fall season as it is germinating or in the spring during its period of active growth. During the fall, pre-emergent herbicides can be used to prevent henbit from germinating, but they should be applied early in the fall before the weather turns cooler and the seeds germinate. Mulching around vegetable gardens and flower beds can also prevent germination. If henbit does emerge in the spring, there are a couple ways to remove it. One way is with post-emergence broad leaf herbicide which is the most effective on young, actively growing weeds. Henbit can also be removed with hand weeding. When hand weeding, it is important to remove the entire plant and root and the shallow roots of henbit make it possible to be removed completely by hand.

Whether you are taking preventative action in the fall or controlling henbit growth in the spring, Green T Lawn Care offers pre-emergent and broad leaf weed control applications to help limit the growth and spread of henbit. Be sure to talk to a Green T technician if you are experiencing difficulty with henbit or other weeds.

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