How to Get Rid of Henbit In Your Lawn

Henbit is a persistent and invasive weed that can quickly take over your lawn if left unchecked. Recognizable by its distinctive purple flowers and scalloped leaves, henbit may look quite pretty, but it is detrimental to the health of your lawn. In this guide, we'll explore effective strategies for eliminating henbit and reclaiming a lush, green lawn you can be proud of.

What Is Henbit and Why Is it a Nuisance?

Henbit, scientifically known as Lamium amplexicaule, is a winter annual weed that belongs to the mint family. Originating from Europe and Asia, henbit has spread across North America and thrives in a variety of climates and soil conditions. It typically germinates in the fall, grows rapidly throughout the winter, and produces seeds in the spring before dying off in warmer weather.

One of the primary reasons henbit is considered a nuisance is its aggressive growth habit. It spreads quickly through its seeds, easily dispersed by wind, animals, or human activity. Additionally, henbit can outcompete desirable grass species for nutrients, water, and sunlight, leading to thinning turf and bare patches in your lawn.

Strategies for Removing Henbit

Fortunately, there are several effective strategies for removing henbit and restoring your lawn to its former glory. From manual removal techniques to chemical control methods, we'll explore the options available to homeowners seeking to eradicate this persistent weed. Whether you prefer eco-friendly alternatives or targeted herbicides, there's a solution to suit your needs and preferences. Join us as we delve into the world of henbit control and reclaim your lawn from this troublesome invader.

Identifying Henbit

henbit plant characteristics

Henbit Plant Characteristics

Henbit is easily recognizable by its distinctive appearance. This winter annual weed typically grows low to the ground, with square stems that may vary in color from green to reddish-purple. The leaves of henbit are opposite, meaning they grow in pairs along the stem and are shaped like hearts with scalloped edges.

How to Distinguish Henbit from Other Common Lawn Weeds

While henbit shares some similarities with other lawn weeds, there are key characteristics that can help you distinguish it from its counterparts. Unlike similar-looking weeds such as purple deadnettle or ground ivy, henbit has longer petioles (leaf stems) and lacks the characteristic square stems of true mints. Additionally, henbit's flowers, which bloom in clusters at the top of the stem, are typically a vibrant shade of purple or pink, making them stand out against the surrounding foliage.

Seasonal Appearance of Henbit in Lawns

Henbit typically germinates in the fall when temperatures begin to cool, making it one of the first weeds to emerge as summer transitions to fall. It thrives in cool, moist conditions and can often grow in lawns, gardens, and disturbed areas such as fields and roadsides. As winter sets in, henbit continues to grow, reaching its peak size in late winter or early spring. By late spring or early summer, henbit begins to produce seeds, which are dispersed by various means, including wind, rain, and animals. 


Related: Which Lawn Weeds Have Purple Flowers?


Negative Impacts of Henbit on Lawn Health and Aesthetics

Henbit infestations can have detrimental effects on both the health and appearance of your lawn. As henbit spreads, it competes with desirable grass species for essential resources such as water, nutrients, and sunlight. This competition often leads to weakened turf, thinning grass, and the formation of unsightly patches throughout the lawn. Additionally, the presence of henbit can disrupt the uniformity of your lawn, detracting from its overall aesthetic appeal and curb appeal.

Potential Spread of Henbit to Neighboring Lawns

One of the challenges of dealing with henbit is its ability to produce thousands of seeds, which can easily spread to neighboring lawns and landscapes. As these seeds are dispersed by wind, animals, or human activity, neighboring properties may become susceptible to henbit infestations if proper control measures are not implemented. So, controlling henbit in your lawn is not only crucial for your property but also for preventing its spread to surrounding areas.

Henbit as a Competitor to Desirable Grass Species

Henbit's aggressive growth habit and prolific seed production make it a formidable competitor to desirable grass species in your lawn. By outcompeting grass for resources, henbit can weaken the turf and create favorable conditions for further weed growth. 

Moreover, henbit's presence can hinder the establishment and growth of new grass seedlings, making it difficult to repair and rejuvenate your lawn. 

Prevention Strategies

Maintaining a Healthy Lawn to Prevent Henbit Growth

  • Regular mowing: Keep your lawn mowed at the appropriate height for your grass species to discourage henbit growth. 
  • Proper fertilization: Apply fertilizer according to your lawn's needs to promote strong, dense turf growth. Healthy, vigorous grass is better equipped to compete with weeds like henbit.
  • Adequate watering: Water your lawn deeply and infrequently to encourage deep root growth in your grass. Avoid overwatering, as this can create favorable conditions for henbit to thrive.

Proper Lawn Care Practices to Minimize Henbit Infestation

  • Core aeration: Aerating your lawn helps improve soil drainage, reduces compaction, and promotes healthy root growth in your grass. Creating an optimal growing environment for your turf can minimize opportunities for henbit to take hold.
  • Overseeding: Overseeding your cool-season lawn with high-quality grass seed helps fill in thin or bare areas, reducing space for henbit to establish itself.
  • Soil testing: Regular soil testing allows you to assess nutrient levels and pH balance in your soil, enabling you to make informed decisions about fertilization and soil amendment to promote healthy grass growth and deter henbit infestation.

Importance of Regular Mowing and Watering Schedules

  • Consistent maintenance: Stick to a regular mowing schedule, especially during the peak growing season, to prevent henbit from flowering and setting seeds.
  • Water wisely: Water your lawn deeply and less frequently to encourage deep root growth in your grass. This helps your turf withstand competition from weeds like henbit.
  • Monitor for early signs: Regularly inspect your lawn for henbit growth, such as the emergence of small plants or clusters of purple flowers. Prompt action at the first sign of henbit can help prevent widespread infestation and minimize the need for more intensive control measures later on.

Manual Removal Techniques

Hand-pulling Henbit from the Lawn

  • Early intervention: Begin hand-pulling henbit as soon as you notice its presence in your lawn. Henbit is easier to remove when it's still small and hasn't had the chance to set seeds.
  • Proper technique: Grasp the henbit plant near its base and gently pull it upward, ensuring you remove the entire root system. Be thorough in your removal efforts to prevent regrowth.

Using Gardening Tools for Effective Removal

  • Hand trowel or weeding tool: Use a hand trowel or weeding tool to dig out henbit plants from the soil, particularly in dense patches or areas where hand-pulling is impractical.
  • Root extraction: Ensure you dig deep enough to remove the entire root system of the henbit plant. Leaving behind even a small portion of the root can result in regrowth.

Tips for Minimizing Henbit Regrowth after Manual Removal

  • Dispose of henbit properly: Collect the removed henbit plants and dispose of them in a way that prevents them from reseeding in your lawn or compost pile.
  • Monitor for regrowth: Regularly inspect your lawn for any signs of henbit regrowth in the areas where you performed manual removal. Address any new growth promptly to prevent further infestation.
  • Address underlying issues: Address any underlying lawn care issues, such as soil compaction or poor drainage, that may be contributing to henbit infestation. Improving overall lawn health can help minimize the recurrence of henbit in the future.

Manual removal techniques can be effective for minor to moderate infestations of henbit and are an excellent option for homeowners who prefer non-chemical control methods or have concerns about using herbicides in their lawn. However, chemical control methods may be necessary for more thorough eradication of larger infestations or persistent henbit growth.

Herbicide Control Methods

  • Selective vs. non-selective herbicides: Selective herbicides target specific weed species like henbit while leaving desirable grass species unharmed. Non-selective herbicides, on the other hand, kill all vegetation they come into contact with and are typically used in areas where no desirable plants are present.
  • Pre-emergent vs. post-emergent herbicides: Pre-emergent herbicides prevent weed seeds from germinating, while post-emergent herbicides are applied to actively growing weeds like henbit.

Types of Herbicides for Henbit Control

  • Broadleaf herbicides: Broadleaf herbicides are effective against henbit and other broadleaf weeds while sparing most grass species. Look for herbicides containing active ingredients such as 2,4-D, dicamba, or triclopyr to control henbit effectively.
  • Selective herbicides: Selective herbicides formulated specifically for lawn use are ideal for targeting henbit without harming your grass. These herbicides are available in liquid or granular form and should be applied according to label instructions for best results.

Our Recommended Herbicides for Henbit

Warm-Season Lawns

Certainty Selective Herbicide

Certainty herbicide is a versatile solution for tackling common warm-season lawn weeds like poa annua, dandelions, and nutsedge. Its fast-acting formula ensures efficient weed control while being safe for various warm-season grass types, including Bermuda, Bahia, Buffalo, Centipede, St. Augustine, Seashore Paspalum, Kikuyu, and Zoysia.


Key Benefits:

  • Fast control of sedges and grassy weeds, including Poa annua, in warm-season turf.
  • Safe application over a broad temperature range, ensuring effectiveness in spring, summer, and fall.
  • Compatible with southern grasses like Bermuda, Zoysia, and St. Augustine without causing turf damage.
  • Coverage of up to 72,000 square feet per application.

Certainty effectively eliminates a wide range of weeds commonly found in lawns, including annual sedges, dandelions, chickweed, clover, henbit, purple nutsedge, and more.

Application Guidelines:

  • Apply Certainty with a battery-powered sprayer using a TeeJet foliar spray tip.
  • Avoid application if temperatures exceed 100°F; instead, spray in the evening when temperatures are cooler.
  • Apply non-ionic surfactant for improved herbicide adherence to weeds.
  • Refrain from mowing immediately before or after application, and do not transfer clippings to non-target areas.

Certainty is safe for all warm-season grasses and works via foliar uptake, eliminating the need for watering after application. It can be applied alongside granular fertilizer or biostimulants, such as Essential G, provided they are used before Certainty. Weed control typically begins within 14 days of application. For best results, stop mowing two days before application and resume mowing two days after applying Certainty.

For henbit weed control in your warm-season lawn, Certainty herbicide offers a reliable and effective solution. 

For more comprehensive weed control on your lawn, why not try our Celsius and Certainty Kit? It combines two weed killers to form a potent combination and also includes turf marker dye and surfactant. This herbicide combination kills weeds without killing your grass and can be used on warm-season lawns, except for Bahiagrass.


Specticle Flo Pre-Emergent Herbicide

Specticle FLO is a highly effective pre-emergent herbicide designed to maintain the beauty of warm-season turf by preventing troublesome weeds like annual bluegrass (Poa Annua). With a liquid formulation that quickly penetrates the soil, Specticle FLO offers long-lasting control of over 60 broadleaf and grassy weeds, covering up to 130,680 square feet per application. 


Key Features:

  • Easy-to-use liquid formulation suitable for application with a backpack or handheld sprayer.
  • Extended residual control of Poa Annua and other weeds.
  • Activation through rainfall or irrigation before weed germination for maximum efficacy.
  • Safe for warm-season grasses such as Bermuda, St. Augustine, Zoysia, Centipede, Bahia, Buffalograss, and Seashore Paspalum.
  • Specticle FLO controls a wide range of broadleaf and grassy weeds, including common nuisances like dandelions, chickweed, henbit, crabgrass, foxtail, and more.

Application Guidelines:

  • Apply Specticle FLO in early fall for optimal weed prevention.
  • Use a battery-powered sprayer with a large droplet nozzle for application.
  • Water in after application with 1/4 inch of irrigation or rainfall to move the herbicide into the soil.
  • Compatible with other products such as Essential G, but it's recommended to apply them before Specticle FLO.

By incorporating Specticle FLO into your lawn care regimen, you can effectively prevent weed infestations and maintain the health and beauty of your warm-season turf with ease.

Cool-Season Lawns

Tenacity Selective Herbicide

Tenacity herbicide is a potent solution for controlling broadleaf and grassy weeds in cool-season turf, making it an ideal choice for maintaining the health and appearance of lawns composed of Kentucky Bluegrass, Turf Type Tall Fescue, Fine Fescue, and Ryegrass. With its active ingredient, Mesotrione, Tenacity effectively targets over 46 weed species, including common nuisances like crabgrass, dandelions, henbit, and chickweed mouse-ear.


Key Features:

  • Safe for cool-season turfgrass without causing damage.
  • Represses photosynthesis in susceptible plants, promoting effective weed control.
  • Suitable for use during seeding, overseeding, renovation, or bare-ground seeding.
  • Whitens weeds within three weeks of application, indicating chlorophyll loss and weed death.
  • Compatible with non-herbicide products for comprehensive lawn care.

Application Guidelines:

  • Apply with a battery-powered sprayer using a TeeJet foliar spray tip for optimal coverage.
  • Avoid application in temperatures exceeding 90°F; instead, apply in the evening when temperatures dip below 90°F.
  • Use a non-ionic surfactant to enhance herbicide adherence to weeds.
  • Refrain from mowing two days before and after application for best results.

Tenacity provides long-lasting weed control and promotes the establishment of healthy turfgrass, ensuring a vibrant and weed-free lawn. With proper application and adherence to guidelines, Tenacity offers a reliable solution for maintaining the beauty and resilience of cool-season turf.

For more comprehensive weed control on your lawn, why not try our Tenacity and Sedgehammer Kit? It combines two weed killers to form a mighty combination and also includes turf marker dye and surfactant. This herbicide blend kills weeds without killing your grass and can be used on cool-season lawns.


Prodiamine 65 WDG

PrimeraOne offers a 65% Prodiamine product, a generic version of Barricade in Water Dispersible Granule (WDG) formulation, ideal for pre-emergent control of grass and broadleaf weeds. This versatile solution provides flexible application options for spring and fall use, ensuring season-long crabgrass control and effective management of Annual Bluegrass.


Key Features:

  • Water Dispersible Granule formulation enables easy mixing with water for liquid application.
  • Non-staining and low solubility characteristics make it a reliable choice for weed control.
  • Excellent compatibility with fertilizers and iron solutions for tank mixing.
  • Active ingredient rate as low as 1/4 of other pre-emergent herbicides, providing cost-effective weed management.
  • Equivalent brand to Syngenta Barricade® 65 WDG.
  • Can be used on cool and warm-season lawns.

Application Guidelines:

  • Apply Prodiamine with 1/4 inch of water from irrigation or rainfall to facilitate movement into the soil.
  • Compatible with Essential-G application on the same day, with Essential-G recommended to be applied before Prodiamine.
  • Apply liquid products after granular applications for optimal results.
  • Prodiamine effectively controls many problem weeds, including crabgrass, chickweed, goosegrass, henbit, pigweed, spurge, and many others. With its pre-emergent mode of action, Prodiamine stays in the weed germination zone, ensuring thorough weed control throughout the season.

For specific uses and application rates, refer to the label instructions provided by PrimeraOne. By adhering to application guidelines, you can effectively manage weeds and maintain a healthy, vibrant lawn throughout the year.

Weed Killer and Fertilizer In One

Some weed and feed fertilizers contain herbicides that can prevent the arrival of henbit, such as Lebanon Pro Prodiamine .38% Pre-Emergent Herbicide with Fertilizer 0-0-7 or Dimension .15% Pre-Emergent Herbicide with Fertilizer 0-0-7. Both are safe for cool and warm-season lawns and are amongst the best feed and weed herbicides that won’t kill your grass.




Guidelines for Safe and Effective Herbicide Application

  • Read and follow label instructions: Carefully read and follow the label instructions on any herbicide product you use. Pay attention to application rates, timing, and safety precautions to ensure effective control of henbit while minimizing risks to humans, pets, and the environment.
  • Timing of application: Apply post-emergent herbicides to actively growing henbit plants in the early spring before they have a chance to flower and set seeds. For pre-emergent herbicides, timing is critical, and they should be applied before henbit seeds germinate in the fall or early spring.
  • Weather conditions: Choose a calm, dry day with temperatures between 60°F and 80°F for herbicide application. Avoid spraying herbicides on windy days to prevent drift, and refrain from watering your lawn for 24 to 48 hours after application to allow post-emergent herbicides like Certainty or Tenacity to be absorbed by the plants.

Chemical control methods offer an effective solution for large or stubborn infestations of henbit and can provide long-lasting control when applied correctly. However, it's essential to use herbicides responsibly and follow label instructions to minimize environmental impact and ensure the health and safety of your lawn.

Eco-Friendly Alternatives

Organic Approaches to Henbit Removal

While natural techniques aren’t likely to be as effective as using chemical herbicides, there are some things you can do to ward away weeds:

  • Vinegar solution: A mixture of household vinegar (with a high acetic acid concentration), water, and a small amount of dish soap can be an effective herbicide for controlling henbit and other broadleaf weeds. Apply the vinegar solution directly to henbit foliage on a sunny day for best results.
  • Corn gluten meal: Corn gluten meal is a natural pre-emergent herbicide that can inhibit weed seed germination, including henbit. Apply corn gluten meal to your lawn in the early spring before henbit seeds begin to germinate to prevent new weed growth.

Creating a Resilient Lawn Environment to Deter Henbit Growth

  • Reducing soil disturbance: Minimize soil disturbance in your lawn, as disturbed soil provides ideal conditions for weed seed germination and establishment. Avoid unnecessary digging or tilling, and use mulch or ground cover to stabilize bare soil areas.
  • Regular maintenance of surrounding areas: Keep neighboring areas, such as flower beds, pathways, and driveways, free of henbit and other weeds to prevent them from spreading to your lawn.

By implementing these long-term lawn management strategies, you can create a healthy, robust lawn that is less susceptible to henbit infestations and other weed problems. Consistent maintenance and proactive measures will help you maintain a beautiful, weed-free lawn year-round.

Henbit, with its invasive nature and rapid spread, poses a significant challenge to maintaining a lush and healthy lawn. However, armed with the knowledge and strategies outlined in this guide, you're well-equipped to tackle henbit infestations and reclaim your lawn from this troublesome weed.

If you want to raise your lawn care game, we invite you to browse our online store for high-quality fertilizers, weed killers, and lawn care products.