andibeth
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Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Apr 19, 2013 7:53 pm

How to Get Rid of Henbit (without harming my perennials)?

Hi - I'm a first-time poster with a big problem. My rock garden has been invaded by Henbit! I wasn't sure if it was a perennial or a weed. I usually buy marked down perennials after the season is over - (some people take in stray cats, I take in plants no one else wants!) I always stick the info card into the soil w/ the perennial, but Sandy blew most of them away..... and Henbit is sort of pretty, so I thought it might be a plant.

Anyway, this is my first run-in with this stuff. It reminds me of the spearmint in my herb garden, but this little rock garden is too small to try to contain it. It's all over the place!

The question is how do I get rid of it without harming my beautiful perennials?!

Thanks,
Andi

PaulF
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Posts: 789
Joined: Tue Nov 09, 2010 10:34 pm
Location: Brownville, Ne

Re: Henbit

I'm sorry! The reason I say that is because henbit is a nasty one to get rid of. If it is heavily mixed in with desired plants it is doubly a problem. Henbit reproduces from the root system. You pull it out and any piece of root will come up. If you leave 10 pieces of root when you pull one plant you will soon have 10 new plants, etc. Herbicide needs to be applied in the fall.

Pulling and hoeing on a regular basis now will help keep it at bay until herbicide can be applied in the fall when carbohydrates are being drawn into the roots for winter. It may take several years to get rid of it all.

Another choice is to remove your desired plants from the area making sure no henbit is attached and put them somewhere else for the year. Then attack the henbit area with a vengeance, perhaps with a nasty weedkiller until it is gone. Or cover with black plastic and let the soil cook to kill any vegetation under the plastic.
Paul F

cynthia_h
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Posts: 7501
Joined: Tue May 06, 2008 11:02 pm
Location: El Cerrito, CA

Re: Henbit

PaulF wrote:I'm sorry! The reason I say that is because henbit is a nasty one to get rid of. If it is heavily mixed in with desired plants it is doubly a problem. Henbit reproduces from the root system. You pull it out and any piece of root will come up. If you leave 10 pieces of root when you pull one plant you will soon have 10 new plants, etc. Herbicide needs to be applied in the fall.

Pulling and hoeing on a regular basis now will help keep it at bay until herbicide can be applied in the fall when carbohydrates are being drawn into the roots for winter. It may take several years to get rid of it all.

Another choice is to remove your desired plants from the area making sure no henbit is attached and put them somewhere else for the year. Then attack the henbit area with a vengeance, perhaps with a nasty weedkiller until it is gone. Or cover with black plastic and let the soil cook to kill any vegetation under the plastic.
The OP placed this request in the Organic Gardening Forum, so most likely wants to solve this problem without herbicides. I conquered Bermuda grass in a (small) northern California lawn in approx. 1983. When we sold the house in 1997, the Bermuda grass had still not returned. I'm not familiar with henbit, but perhaps the techniques I used for Bermuda grass (100% organic, non-threatening to humans or subsurface organisms) can be tweaked for this situation?

Good luck!

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

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shadylane
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Posts: 456
Joined: Tue Jun 21, 2011 3:42 pm
Location: North Central Illinois

Re: Henbit

Image

Just throwing out some info if one knows their growing habits one may have a better chance of fighting it...

Henbit is in the family 'lamium' or deadnettles, they are a cool-weather weed and die back in the heat of summer only to regrow, flower again and produce a new crop of seedlings. These persist through winter to blossom and set seed the following spring. The seeds are eaten by many birds including chickens.

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