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how to control henbitHenbit Control

Now is the time that cool-weather weeds begin to creep up into the yards of homeowners. One of the more prominent types of weed that invade lawns between winter and early spring is henbit. If not treated promptly, henbit can easily begin to spread amongst your lawn and flower beds which can be quite unsightly. Fortunately, they are a relatively easy weed to control with the right product.

Here at Solutions Pest and Lawn, we’re dedicated to serving you with not only supplying the best professional-grade products in the lawn and pest control industry, but also we want to empower you with the confidence to tackle any issues you have on your yard or home yourself, without hiring a professional.

It is always helpful to know a little bit about the problem weed that invades your lawn so you know what it’s tendencies are in order to come up with a winning approach to controlling a weed. Browse our list of recommended herbicide products for henbit control below and scroll further to get expert advuce on dealing with henbit using our patented 4 step process.

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How to Get Rid of Henbit: Solutions 4 Step Process

Step One: Identification. Before you can move forward with applying herbicides and tackling your weed issue, you have to be sure the type of weed you have is actually henbit and not some other similar looking invasive weed. Proper identification of the weed you are encountering on your lawn will help you to understand what the weeds tendencies are and in what conditions it thrives and also point you in the right direction of which products can best treat that particular weed. 

Henbit can easily be confused with other plants such as purple deadnettle and for good reason because its part of the same family, the mint family, lamina. Henbit is different when it comes to how they flower. Before blooming, the flowers look almost crimson but when they bloom they are a deeper colored purple than purple deadnettle. Pick up the stem of the henbit plant and roll it in between your thumb and finger and you will be able to feel that henbit stems are square and not hairy as well. They have heart shaped leaves that lay right up against the stem and can grow up to 18 inches tall.

If you are unsure whether you have henbit or not, simply shoot an email over to identification@solutionsstores.com and send us a photo of your weed and we will identify it for you and suggest treatment options to address any weed issue you have.


Step Two: Inspection. Once you are sure the plant you are encountering on your property is indeed henbit, you can then move to the inspection process. If you have henbit growing on your lawn, they are hard to miss because their purple flowers are a dead giveaway. Henbit is a winter annual weed oso it will start to grow  near the end of summer or in the fall and then after overwintering, henbit reaches its maturity during the cooler spring months. So 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.


Step Three: Control. The best way of controlling chickweed is chemical control or you could just go ahead and eat it since they are edible and it is enjoyed by many for its health benefit and medicinal uses. However, if you like having a clean well-kept lawn without the blemishes of outstanding weeds, then henbit can be killed using a variety of broadleaf weed killers, the exact weed killer would depend on what kind of grass you have.

Since henbit is a winter annual it is suggested to apply broadleaf weed killer in the fall when the plants are young and tiny and thus more susceptible to chemical applications. Some of the products which do a good job of controlling henbit is a three way herbicide like 3-D Herbicide Triplet Alternative. You could also use Roundup Custom Herbicide. You could also try to lay out a pre-emergent before fall arrives to prevent henbit from emerging. For this we suggest either Dithiopyr 2L Herbicide or Oryzalin Pre Emergent Herbicide.


If you missed the window to apply herbicides at the end of fall, there is another opportunity later in the winter on a warmer day, spray them before they have matured and started blooming. If you have a warm season grass like buffalo grass or bermuda grass 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).


Step Four: Prevention. WIth henbit being a winter annual it can be more tricky to control. Pre-emergent herbicides have proven to be the best method of prevention and the spread of hebit 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 root to grow. Maintain a good lawn maintenance schedule for your particular grass type and keep up with watering, mowing and fertilizing.


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Learn More About Henbit

Henbit (Lamium amplexicaule) is a sparsely hairy weed that grows annually in the winter time and has greenish to purplish, tender, square stems. Its other leaves are broadly egg shaped with bluntly toothed margins and prominent veins on the underside. Upper leaves are directly attached to the stem while the lower leaves have petioles. Henbit is named as such because they are edible and hens in particular like to eat it.


Henbit plants contain a fibrous root system and can grow to a height of 16 inches. Henbit is particularly easy to ID due to it’s distinctive flowers which are usually reddish purple in color with darker coloring in spots on lower petals. It flowers in the spring with the flowers arranged in whorls in the upper leaves.

Henbit is a fairly common weed in the U.S. that can be found just about anywhere.  The life cycle of the weed consists of henbit germinating in spring and summer in regions with cool summers, and bloom during winter down in the warmer south.  The plants die out around the start 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.

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Appearance and Development of Henbit

New henbit plants appear early in the spring season, even more plants continue to pop up during the spring and summer months. Henbit is a small plant in spoor soil conditions. However, given optimal conditions--such as a cultivated vegetable garden--it can grow quite large.


The stems of henbit are typically red in color, particularly the older stems. You can see and feel the square nature of the stems. Fresh stems branch off an existing stem usually in a pair opposite each other sometimes in a whorl. Leaves grow from stem axles as well as the lengthening stem tip. Focusing on an individual leaf can be tricky since they grow closely together as a pair of leaves from the stem. They also have scalloped edges.

Henbit flowers grow in whorl at the leaf axles, initially they look like bits of deep red peeking out from the surrounding green.They grow upward with a fuzzy or hairy top. The blooming the flower shapeshifts fascinatingly in maturity.


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Henbit is Edible

Don't want to chemically control henbit? You could always eat them. Henbit is an edible plant and has a delicious taste. You can use them in salads and other recipes, but where it excels is its medicinal benefit. It can be used to treat minor wounds and burns. It can be made into a tea to treat diarrhea swelling, internal bleeding and other ailments.

So if henbit is a reoccuring problem on your property, go ahead and stock up on it for consumption.


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Henbit Tips and Recommendations

The best method of controlling weeds is always to maintain a healthy, well-managed lawn that houses soil that will not allow weed seeds to germinate. Weed seeds thrive in soil that is moist and need daylight to sprout and develop. Soil that is dense and nutrient-rich will choke out young weed seeds before they can develop into mature plants.

A pre-emergent herbicide 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. Use one of our recommend herbicides above. If correctly applied in fall, an 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 herbicide will prevent it from doing so, killing the weed.


If henbit has already grown and matured on your lawn, we recommend the above post-emergent herbicides. These work best on weeds that are actively growing. The key with post-emergent herbicide treatment is timing the application before the weeds release their seeds – so you can kill next year’s crop before it even gets started.


As an alternative you can also spot treat henbit with glyphosate (Roundup), a non-selective post-emergent weed spray. Since it is non-selective, try your best to keep the herbicide from getting on your desired plants.


For more information on controlling henbit on your lawn and to get advice catered to your unique issue from experts, contact us at askapro@solutionsstores.com or call our customer service line at (800) 479-6583.


Additional Resources To Learn About Henbit

Henbit: Top of the pecking order - Eat The Weeds and other things, too


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