Henbit and Chickweed
Henbit and chickweed are two weeds with very similar lifecycles and methods for control. While they can show up in shrub beds, they are more of a concern in the lawn. Henbit is the showier of the two with obvious purple flowers that cover the plant in spring. It is a winter annual that germinates in the fall, September in our area. It will be very inconspicuous throughout the winter, then grows very quickly when temperatures begin to warm in the spring. Its scalloped leaves have a purple cast and the plants will be covered in tiny trumpet-shaped blooms in April. Henbit will die when temperatures get hot. Chickweed has the same lifecycle, germinating in the fall then producing tiny white flowers on top of a mounding weed with small, round, bright green leaves.
Both henbit and chickweed are less likely to be problems in thick, healthy lawns so well-maintained grass is the first defense. While these weeds are much more obvious in the spring, chemical control is very hard to achieve in the spring but much easier in the fall. In the spring Fertilome’s “Weed Free Zone” can give partial control. In the fall, pre-emergents such as Fertilome’s “For All Seasons” or Hi-Yield’s “Turn and Ornamental Grass and Weed Stopper” can be used in mid to late September for very effective control. Later in the fall, Weed Free Zone will be very effective against the young plants in November when the dandelions are being sprayed.