February 17, 2016
February 17, 2016

Henbit (or Lamium amplexicaule) is a purple-green broadleaf weed with very shallow root systems that spread everywhere. Most of the time, it grows in the springtime, but in colder climates, it can grow anywhere. Henbit starts in waste piles, in moist soils, pastures, and nursery pits.

This weed grows well under shrubs and tends to take over in places where grass won’t – which can make it particularly hard to kill.

Identifying Henbit

To take a bite out of henbit, you have to understand what it looks like. Henbit has purple flowers, with leaves attached directly to the stem. The stem will be square in nature, and these stems are very durable and flexible. The germination cycle usually starts in the winter time (Lamium amplexicaule) is a winter annual weed), and the seeds lie dormant underground during the summer-time, making it frustrating for new gardeners to understand where they come from.

Controlling Henbit

Henbit (Lamium amplexicaule) is a highly competitive weed, and unfortunately simple weed control techniques are usually not enough to rid your yard of this weed, especially after it becomes established. The best way to control henbit (also called dead nettle or bee nettle) is by killing it systemically. This approach means that you have to make sure that any herbicide that you apply goes as deep as the roots do, killing the whole plant.

We suggest using a pre-emergent herbicide in the fall, or using a post-emergent herbicide. Unfortunately, post-emergents have the downside of not completely eliminating the root systems, leaving you struggling with it next spring. Hiring a lawn care service is recommended if you’re battling henbit.

Taking a Natural Approach to Henbit Weeds

Because henbit has such expansive root systems, don’t just pull them out. One single henbit root could support more than four or six stems, and these hardy plants can shoot up faster than you could pull them. Remember, you have to kill them before the weeds seed again- or lay down mulch to suffocate them.

The best organic mulches are often one of the best preventative solutions for weeds, blocking sunlight and moisture from the surface of the soil (for all natural approaches that don’t use chemicals).