Henbit, also sometimes called Greater Henbit and Henbit Deadnettle, is a winter annual weed that tends to invade lawns across America. It germinates in the fall and survives the winter as a vegetative plant. This member of the mint family is easily identified by its four-sided (square) stem, which can vary from greenish to purplish in color and may have sparse hairs. The leaves are hairy, with upper leaves deeply lobed and encircling the main stem at the base (without a leaf stem). In comparison, purple deadnettle leaves are more triangular, less deeply lobed, and redder than henbit.
Small, pinkish-purple flowers with darker coloring on the lower petal can be found on henbit, arranged in whorls and tubular in shape. The weed typically flowers and develops seeds before dying off as temperatures rise in late spring to early summer.
To manage this lawn intruder, it’s important to take timely action. Consider these steps to keep your lawn henbit-free:
- Regular inspection: Keep an eye on your lawn for any signs of henbit growth, especially during fall and early spring.
- Hand pulling: If you spot henbit in your lawn, remove it by hand, ensuring you pull out the entire root system to prevent regrowth.
- Mowing: Regular mowing helps control the spread of henbit by preventing it from producing seeds.
- Prevention techniques: Maintain a healthy, well-fertilized lawn to reduce the likelihood of henbit taking hold.
- Mulching: Use organic mulch to smother and suppress weed growth in garden beds.
- Organic options: Apply corn gluten meal as a pre-emergent herbicide to inhibit henbit germination.
- Chemical options: If necessary, use post-emergent herbicides to control henbit. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for safe and effective application.
By staying vigilant and implementing these management techniques, you can keep your lawn looking its best and free from the pesky henbit weed.
Henbit: Just the Facts
|Common Names||Henbit Deadnettle, Greater Henbit|
|Scientific Name||Lamium amplexicaule|
|Identification||Square stems, opposite pairs of rounded leaves with scalloped edges, upper leaves clasp the stem, small tubular purple-pink flowers|
|USA Range and Habitat||Widespread across the United States, especially in the Eastern and Southern states; lawns, gardens, fields, waste areas|
|Plant Height||4-12 inches|
|Time of Year You See It||Blooms in early Spring, typically March to May, withers away by Summer|
|Growth Habits||Spreads quickly, forms dense patches|
|Impact on Lawn and Garden||Competes with other plants for resources, can create unsightly patches in lawns and gardens|
|Control Methods||Hand pulling, mowing, regular inspection, prevention techniques, mulching, organic options (corn gluten meal as pre-emergent), chemical options (post-emergent herbicides)|
|Beneficial Uses||Attracts pollinators, has edible and medicinal uses|
|Additional Notes||Early removal is crucial to prevent spreading, can be composted only if seeds have not formed|