Henbit Identification in Kansas City, St. Louis and Omaha, Nebraska
|Synonyms||Dead nettle, bee nettle, blind nettle|
|Life cycle: Winter annual
Growth Habit: Prostrate, Common in waste places, fallow fields, gardens, roadsides, and railroads
Round to heart-shaped
Leaf Structure: Rounded teeth with heavy upper-surface venation
Leaf Arrangement: Opposite
Root Type: Fibrous root system
Flower Color: Purple to pink
Henbit identification is important to treating your lawn to be free of this particular weed. Henbit is a branching, soft, weedy plant with square stems, lacking a pleasant scent, notably blooming in early spring. It blooms February–November. Flowers are small, bright lavender with red spots, with the tubular, lipped configuration typical of the mint family, in terminal clusters, subtended by sessile leaves. Except for the leaves right beneath the flower clusters, all leaves are rounded, scalloped, and close to the ground.
Henbit is a mint cousin that’s common in gardens in the eastern half of the United States. In the north it is a spring annual. In the south, henbit sprouts in fall and blooms in early spring. The pretty pink flowers are attractive, but the spreading plants will take over a lawn or garden. Mulch discourages this weed, which needs sun to sprout and grow. Henbit is easily controlled by pulling. When cultivating soil infested with henbit, rake out the plants to keep them from rerooting.
Similar species: Dead nettle (L. purpureum) has a distinctive, 4-sided, pagoda-like or pyramidal leaf arrangement. The heart-shaped leaves become larger and have longer stems the lower they are on the stalk.
How to Kill and Prevent Henbit
- Don’t Hand-Pull
It’s probably not worth your time to pull chickweed by hand. Not only does it take a long time, but if you leave even a tiny bit of root behind, the plant will regrow and launch a fresh assault on your lawn.
- Make Your Lawn Lush and Green
Henbit weeds invade thin lawns in shady spots, but improving lawn maintenance can suppress them. Water the lawn so the soil is constantly moist, and mow the grass regularly to encourage dense growth. Fertilize the lawn with a 32-0-4 lawn feed applied at a rate of 2 1/2 pounds per 1,000 square feet every eight weeks while the grass is actively growing.
- Apply a Good Pre-emergent
Use a pre-emergent herbicide that prevents henbit seeds from sprouting in your lawn. Henbit seeds sprout in fall, but pre-emergent weedkillers create a chemical barrier that prevents henbit seedlings from growing.
- Use a Broad-leaf Herbicide
The best way to control henbit is to spray a selective broad-leaf herbicide in lawns in spring. Broadleaf weedkillers control henbit and other broad-leaved plants and doesn’t harm grass.
Proturf lawn services kills and prevents Henbit during their normal service calls and guarantees the work by returning for unlimited service calls to kill any new growth and retreat any stubborn areas previously sprayed. This means you are free to pay attention to the more important things in life like family and hobbies.