The Henbit Menace
Since a young age, I have loved plants of all kinds and spent a lot of time helping my mother in her gardening. When I could afford a house with a lawn, I was thrilled.
I spent a lot of time planning and designing the garden. Soon, my garden was the envy of the neighborhood! Once in a while, I would come across some unknown plants in the lawn and didn’t bother about them.
These small harmless plants started to show up all over, and I realized that I needed to get them out. I would pluck out some, and some new ones would start growing.
It seemed like a losing battle until I took the help of an expert. He explained to me that it was henbit, and I had to take some extreme measures or end up losing my lawn. I followed his instructions and thankfully got rid of henbit. My lawn is again in the best shape.
If you are also facing a similar problem, then let me tell you that it is possible to remove the henbit without much difficulty.
Henbit: A Plant or A Weed?
Before you go any further, you should be able to identify henbit! This is a weed with squarish stems. Its leaves are small and rounded with deep veins.
Sometimes the plants also have heart-shaped leaves. The upper leaves are directly attached to the stems. The flowers sit on top of the stems and are pinkish in color and trumpet-like in shape.
The plants start to flower profusely as soon as it is spring. The flowers on their own are quite pretty and look beautiful. However, in the middle of the lawn or growing haphazardly anywhere can spoil the symmetry of your garden.
This is the main reason people want to eliminate the henbit. We work hard to achieve and maintain the look of our garden, and henbit appearing out of nowhere can make our gardens look untidy and messy.
If you are facing the same issue, then firstly, you have to find out if it is henbit and not some other weed. You need plant-specific instructions.
Here I am going to share some useful information with you, which will help you in getting easily rid of henbit and bring your garden back to its glory!
What Do You Need?
Before you get down to doing anything, sit down, and properly plan the whole exercise. Firstly, assess how extensive the infestation is!
If it is only one or two henbits here and there you’re your plan of action will be different as compared to when it is all over the awn. You need a few things to do this work effectively.
This is a must if you don’t want to hurt yourself. If it is just one or two plants, it is alright, but for a large number of henbits, you must wear gloves.
This may seem puzzling, but the fertilizer is for the grass and not for the henbit! The healthier the grass, the fewer chances of henbit growing freely.
This is what will keep the henbits from re-growing. When the flower pollens fall on the ground, they can re-grow into plants. Wood chips, commercial mulch, or even manure can be used.
The herbicide will do the job for you by killing henbit. There are specific herbicides made to target henbit, and you should use these.
How to Get Rid Of Henbit?
Once you have everything ready and you have decided to go ahead with the operation henbit, you must take the following steps.
1. Clearing by Hand
- The easiest way to take off henbit is by weeding it. Use your gloves.
- Pull off the henbit when you find the soil moist. It makes it easy for you to get the roots.
- Make sure that the full plant with its roots comes off. It requires some strength.
- Try to do this weeding before the blooming of flowers starts. The pollens may give rise to new plants.
- You can spread mulch on this area. A depth of 3 to 5 inches for mulch should be ideal.
- Chips of wood, leaves mold, shredded bark are all good mulch. Spread it on the area.
- If you notice the layer getting thinner, add some more of the mulch.
- You can also spread some gravel as well to make the soil firm. This will stop henbits from re-growing.
2. Maintenance of Lawn
- Henbits thrive when the grass of your lawn not healthy or growing in patches.
- Make sure that your lawn gets enough sun and avoid shady places.
- Mow your lawn on a regular basis because this will result in thicker grass to grow.
- Keep your lawn moist. If the soil is moist the weeds don’t grow easily.
- Fewer weeds mean more grass and no empty spaces which will result in no henbits.
- Use fertilizers to keep the grass growing at a reasonable speed and in a healthy way.
- If your grass starts to dry up then reseed the lawn. In summer when it is dry, the grass will begin to wither and give space to weeds like henbit.
- When the henbit infestation is already too wide-spread, then you need herbicides.
- Herbicides will also ensure that the henbits will not appear again anytime soon.
- Use strong herbicides that are designed to target henbit specifically.
- The best time to apply herbicides is when there is a chance of a rainfall.
- The best ratio is about 11/2 to 2 lb of herbicide spread on about 1000 sq ft of land.
- If it does not rain, you will have to water the area because herbicides are not effective on dry soil.
Is Henbit Dangerous?
The main reason people want to kill henbit is not that it is toxic or dangerous!! It belongs to the mint family. Some mints look like mint while some smell like mint.
Henbit does not smell minty, but it is an edible mint. There are recipes that tell you how to use henbit as a garnish or in some other exciting way!
You are safe if you ingest it, but it may cause some discomfort to sheep, cattle, horses, etc. if they consume it in large quantities.
The name Henbit comes from the fact that hens like it! Even hummingbirds like it for their nectar. So, there is no need to worry, henbit is perfectly safe and non-toxic.
Is It Edible?
Being non-toxic and being edible are two different things! Henbit is non-toxic, but is it edible? Yes! It is edible, and you can consume it raw or cooked.
The stem, flowers, and leaves are all edible. It belongs to the mint family, but it tastes more like kale and not like mint. Henbit is highly nutritious and is very high in iron, like many other greens. It also contains vitamins and fiber.
There are many things that you can do with henbit. Use it as an herb to garnish dishes. Use it in salads and soups. Some people also use it while making teas.
Some people use it in making smoothies with kale. The list is endless, and if you want to use it, there are many ways you can do it. Some research even points towards its medicinal properties as it can be an excellent anti-rheumatic, laxative, stimulant, diaphoretic, etc.
Well, we have shared a lot of information with you and feel that it will help you to achieve your goal of getting rid of the henbit.
You must realize that though it is not difficult to eliminate it, if you don’t do it properly, it may end up ruining your lawn. Follow the steps we have laid out for you for the best results. To sum it up:
- Remove the plants by hand.
- Pull up entirely with the roots.
- Put mulch in the area.
- Make sure the grass grows thick and healthy.
- Contain henbit growth with regular care.
- If it becomes too much, ask for professional help.
If you find the information useful, do feel free to share it with others who need help. Do share your thoughts with us. You can write to us with any comments and suggestions.
If you still have any doubts, we will be happy to clear them for you. Don’t let a small plant, like henbit, become a big headache for you. Take care of the problem at the right time.