Henbit Control

Most Effective Products

Barricade Granular Pre-emergent Herbicide
As low as $28.99
MSM Turf Herbicide (Manor)
Water Dispersible Granule (WDG)
As low as $14.04
Fahrenheit Herbicide
Water Dispersible Granule (WDG)
As low as $30.00
Keith's Pro Tips

"To prevent henbit, a pre-emergent treatment of Nitrophos Barricade can be used in the fall if you are not planting new grass seed. Be sure to apply it in early fall before the weather turns cool and weed seeds germinate. If correctly applied at the right time, a herbicide barrier will form on top of the ground so when Henbit seeds begin to show up, they won’t be able to germinate as the pre-emergent will prevent it from doing so, killing the weed."

Henbit Control: How To Get Rid of Henbit

Henbit is a fairly common weed in the U.S. that can be found just about anywhere. It is also known as a helpful plant that is cultivated for its editable parts. However, there are many homeowners who encounter henbit as an overpopulating weed within their gardens and lawns. If left alone, a small cluster of henbit can grow to cover large patches of turf and suffocate your grass.

The life cycle of the weed consists of henbit germinating in spring and summer in regions with cool summers, then blooming during winter down in the warmer south.

Henbit plants start to die out around the beginning of summer due to the high temperatures. Henbit can quickly invade thin lawns where there is sufficient moisture in the soil, especially in shaded areas.

If you are having a problem with henbit on your lawn, our DIY henbit treatment guide can help. The instructions below were compiled by our lawn care experts and will show you how to properly kill henbit and ensure it doesn't return.



Before considering a treatment approach, you need to properly identify the weed you are dealing with and confirm that it is henbit. Misidentification can lead to using the wrong treatment methods, costing you time and money.

  • Henbit (scientific name: Lamium amplexicaule) is a weed that is lightly hairy and grows annually in the wintertime and has greenish to purplish colored stems that are square-shaped. Their leaves are heart-shaped with rounded ends. Henbit is named as such because they are edible and hens, in particular, like to eat it.
  • Henbit plants have a fibrous root system and can grow up to 10 to 30 cm tall. Henbit is particularly easy to identify due to its unique flowers which are usually reddish-purple in color with darkened spots on their lower petals.
  • Henbit leaves grow directly from stem, whereas other plants grow their leaves with petioles. Henbit leaves are typically smaller than purple deadnettle leaves; henbit leaves are 1-2 cm in length.
  • Henbit leaves grow in pairs, opposite of each other. Leaves growing at the bottom of stem grow further apart from each other than leaves towards top of stem.
  • Henbit prefers light, and dry soil.
  • Henbit can easily be confused with other plants such as purple deadnettle and for good reason because they are both part of the mint family; lamina. The difference is that henbit flowers are a darker colored purple when they bloom and they are a type of ground ivy.

Use the description above and the images to help you to properly identify henbit. If you're having trouble, contact us and send us a photo of your weed and we will identify it for you and suggest treatment options.



Once you have confirmed that henbit is the weed you are dealing with, proceed with inspection. In this phase, you will need to determine where the henbit is growing, how severe of an invasion you have and the conducive conditions causing it to thrive. This will help you to make cultural changes to your lawn and figure out where to focus your herbicide applications.

When to Inspect

Henbit is a winter annual weed so it will start to grow near the end of summer or in the fall. Henbit cannot survive high temperatures and typically begin to wither in the summertime. This means the plant will germinate or sprout from seeds in the ground in fall, and will flower in spring. By early summer, henbit plants would have produced seeds and died, starting the cycle over. If you first discover them in the spring it may be too late to treat them which unfortunately is the time when they are noticed. In the fall, they are very small and tend to slip under the radar.

What to Look For

If you have Henbit growing on your lawn, they are hard to miss because their purple flowers are a dead giveaway. Henbit also likes to grow in moist fertile soil, and areas where the turf is thin, weak, or otherwise stressed from foot traffic, poor fertilization, or overwatering in the area. Henbit is also capable of growing in drier, sandier soils. Be on the lookout for mats of henbit leaves as well.


Before starting any treatment, be sure to wear your personal protective equipment (PPE) and remember to keep all people and pets off the treated areas until dry.

Since Henbit is a winter annual it is suggested to apply chemical control products in the early spring to fall when the plants are young and tiny and thus more susceptible to chemical applications.

In landscaped beds, one can simply pull henbit and suppress its growth with mulch.

In spring, you will want to use a post-emergent herbicide like MSM Turf or Fahrenheit. MSM Turf is a dry flowable herbicide that can be used to control many broadleaf weeds. Fahrenheit is a water soluble granule that may also be used to control broadleaf weeds. However, Fahrenheit should only be used if you have warm-season turf. If you have cool-season turf, then you can use MSM Turf.

Step 1: Mix and Apply MSM Turf or Fahrenheit

Selective Herbicide

MSM Turf, you will apply it at the labeled rate of 0.33 ounces per acre. In smaller applications, this translates to 0.0076 ounces per 1,000 square feet of treatment area, or in metric, 0.22 grams. If you are using Fahrenheit, you can apply it at a labeled rate of 4 to 6 ounces per acre. In smaller applications, this translates to 0.09 to 0.14 ounces per 1,000 square feet of treatment area, or in metric, 2.55 to 3.97 grams.

We recommend you use either a 1 or 1.5-gallon handheld sprayer with either product to make mixing and application quick and easy. To mix, add half the water into the pump sprayer, add your measured amount of MSM Turf or Fahrenheit, then add the remaining half of the water and close the sprayer. Shake the sprayer to agitate, and pump to produce a low-pressure spray.

When applying, change the nozzle setting to a fan nozzle so it will spray a low pressure of fine mist directly on the weeds and get an even coating on the surface of henbit leaves. Spray the weed to the point of wet, not runoff.

For the most effective results, we recommend you make your treatment in early spring when henbit is growing strong, but before the plant produces flowers. Check the weather ahead of time and spray on a calm day with no rain forecast for the next 48 hours and when wind speeds are low to minimize drift. If you have a warm-season grass like buffalo grass or bermudagrass you can apply a herbicide and kill the weed and not hurt the ground during the time of the year when grass is dormant (December, January, Early-February or mid-March).

You should start to see visible results of affected plants browning and wilting within 2 weeks of application. If necessary, you make conduct a reapplication of the product, but we recommend you wait at least 2 weeks after your initial treatment. Keep in mind the label restricts users to no more than 2 applications of this product per year, and there is a maximum seasonal application rate of 6.25 pints per acre.

If you are past the window for post-emergent treatment, then the next best approach is to apply a pre-emergent herbicide in fall. We recommend you use a product like barricade. When applied properly, Barricade will form a chemical barrier that will stop weed seeds from sprouting. Barricade comes in a granular form, so you will need a broadcast push spreader to apply it. Henbit seeds will germinate in soil temperatures between 68 and 59 degrees, so we recommend you apply barricade right before the soil temperature cools to 70 degrees. Be sure to look up your areas soil temperatures to find the best window for pre-emergent application.

You will use between 1.5 to 4 pounds of Barricade per 1,000 square feet of treatment area depending on your turf type. Pour the proper amount of Barricade into the spreader, and broadcast half your granules in parallel lines once across the area. Then broadcast the other half at a perpendicular angle to cover the area in its entirety. Once the product is fully applied, water it in. Most effective control can be achieved with at least half an inch of water within 14 days of application.

Step 2: Reapply As Needed

Reapplication of herbicide to Henbit

You should begin to see visible results of affected plants browning and wilting within 2 weeks of application. If a second application is needed, apply the herbicide in spot treatments. We recommend you wait at least 2 weeks after your initial treatment.

Keep in mind the label restricts users to no more than 2 applications of this product per year, and there is a maximum seasonal application rate of 6.25 pints per acre. Repeated applications of a three-way herbicide should be spaced according to label directions (normally every 7 to 10 days). Be careful applying in the heat and just spot treat the area so you don't burn your grass.


pre-emergent application

With henbit being a winter annual it can be more tricky to control. The best way to keep henbit from growing in your lawn is by maintaining proper lawn health. Henbit is not a very competitive weed, so by strengthening your turf grass and keeping up with maintenance, you will choke it out and give it little opportunity to grow.

First, you will want to improve your lawns air circulation and water retention. Rake and dethatch your lawn to improve aeration, and trim back any overhanging tree branches to reduce shade and increase evaporation rates.

In addition to improving your lawns water retention, you will also need to water it properly. Your lawn will need 1 to 1.5 inches of water every week, including rainfall. Water your lawn once a week in the morning, rather than a little everyday. If there's rain in the weeks forecast, go ahead and let mother nature do the work.

Be sure to mow your lawn to the proper height, and adjust your mower so that your grass will come out 3 to 4 inches tall. Tall grass encourages deeper root growth and prevents weeds from receiving some much-needed sunlight.

Finally, keep up with a proper fertilizing schedule. By laying fertilizer with the appropriate amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, you will maintain strong turf grass and suppress other weeds from growing.

Pre-emergent herbicides, like nitrophos barricade, have proven to be the best method of prevention and the spread of henbit can be reduced by spreading mulch around.

As always, the best defense against henbit making a comeback on your landscape in the future is to grow a thick, nutrient-rich lawn so weeds do not have any room to grow. Maintain a good lawn maintenance schedule for your particular grass type and keep up with watering, mowing and fertilizing.

Key Takeaways

What is Henbit?

  • Henbit is a common annual weed that sprouts in the fall and sets seed in the spring. This weed can be challenging to remove from your lawn and without intervention can overtake your turf.

How To Get Rid of Henbit on Your Lawn

  • Our top recommendation for treating henbit is the use of a pre-emergent herbicide like MSM Turf or Fahrenheit. This product is non-selective and will not harm the desired grasses, only the henbit.

Preventing Henbit Reinvasion

  • A pre-emergent herbicide like nitrophos barricade can be applied to your lawn in the early fall before the henbit has sprouted to prevent its seeds from growing.
  • You should also mow and fertilize on a routine basis to encourage a thick lawn that will make it hard for weeds like henbit to reestablish.
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