by Mario Villarino DVM, Ph.D
Our winter suddenly is starting to warm up. With the increase of temperature, plant activity in lawns and gardens starts to kick in. I have visited with several members of our community who are even getting their lawnmowers getting ready to start an early mowing season. IT is however important to remember that the chances for cold days are not over and it will be wise to have a way of protect our tender early plantings from frost still.
A common weed covering our lawns is henbit. Henbit (Lamium amplexicaule) is a cool season, annual broadleaf weed. Seedlings begin to emerge in early fall and grow throughout the fall, winter and spring. Henbit can dominate turfgrass in the spring throughout the southern region. Although henbit is not known for any herbal or medicinal purposes, this plant is used in flower arrangements because of its unusual leaf shape and arrangement. Henbit, a member of the mint family, has characteristic square stems. Stems are slender, ascending or prostrate, and freely branched at the base. Stems may root at the lower nodes. Leaves are opposite, nearly circular, deeply veined, hairy and petioled. Upper leaves clasp the stem and the lower leaves are distinctly petioled. Roots are shallow and fibrous. Flowers, conspicuous in early spring, are tubular, pink to purple, and borne in the leaf axile. Seeds are borne in a pod.
Henbit is most effectively controlled with herbicides in the fall while plants are small and immature. Products containing dicamba, MCPP and 2,4-D have demonstrated effective control in the fall and early spring. In dormant bermudagrass, glyphosate, diquat or metribuzin will control henbit. If applied prior to germination, products such as surflan, bensulide, pendimethalin and simazine also provide good control of henbit. Follow label directions on all products recommended for henbit to obtain the best control.
Remember to get ready to start also your grassburrs control program using a pre-emerge herbicide, it makes a big difference using a product before seeds emerge while controlling grassburrs.
For more information on this or any other agricultural topic please contact the Hopkins County Extension Office at 903-885-3443.