Henbit taking over lawns
Staff photo by Mindy Kepfield
Henbit glows purple in a Marion County field. It’s not a noxious weed, but the plant is hardest to get rid of when it is blossoming, Marion County extension agent Rickey Roberts said.
The swaths of pinkish-purple blossoms spreading across fields and taking over lawns are thanks to a pretty weed that is thriving after a wet winter.
It’s henbit, a member of the mint family that germinates in the fall and sports blossoms in the cool of early spring, Marion County extension agent Rickey Roberts said.
Like its cousin the dandelion, the plant becomes visible when it is difficult to control or get rid of, he said.
“Right now, when it is blooming, it is pretty hard to kill,” he said.
It’s not a noxious weed, but Kansas usually sports a healthy crop, said Roberts. He admits his lawn has also been invaded.
“It’s like man,” Roberts said. “You need some grass and not henbit.”
Homeowners who want to rid their lawns of henbit are advised to keep it mowed and let nature run its course until warmer weather kills the plant, Roberts said.
“It will be done here pretty soon,” he said. “All summer we won’t see it.”
Using a weed-and-feed herbicide or pesticide in the fall, when henbit germinates, is the best way to get rid of it.
It’s easy to kill if you can find it, Roberts said.
“You have to look for it to see it then,” he said. “It’s tiny.”
Last modified April 9, 2020