What Is Wrong With My Lawn?
by: Dr. Mario Villarino
Rain has brought some of the needed humidity into our soils. Our once-burned out lawns are recovering from the extreme drought and greening up a bit. But when you look closer, many lawns are not grass lawns but covered areas with weeds. The most important one, as far as I can see around the Sulphur Springs area is henbit. Henbit (Lamium aplexicaule) is a member of the Lamiaceae or Mint family, and one of the most common North Texas weeds, originally an escape from Europe-Eurasia-North Africa. There are five closely related species. A good clue for recognizing Henbit is the fact that the upper leaves encircle the stem. It is relished by chickens and has been consumed by people as a pot-herb in the past. Another common name is 'Dead-nettle' ("dead" meaning not a stinging nettle). A close relative is L. purpurea, or Purple Dead Nettle. Henbit has multiple stems from a single taproot, masses of many soft, slightly hairy leaves, and small flowers that are purple in color. It has been a well known weed in Europe and England for centuries - the early herbalist John Gerard wrote of baking henbit flowers with sugar for desserts or serving it in a distilled form. For gardeners henbit is undesirable because the many stems can grow to be 6-8 inches long and sprawl over more desirable plants nearby. Henbit typically grows fast early springs, but the extreme drought has brought them back early. The best time to control henbit and other weeds is when those are small. Of course, for the Henbit, now is not a good time since most of the plants are fully grown. But for another weed, grassburs, January and February are the perfect time to apply pre-emergence herbicides. For more information on lawn and weed control please contact the Hopkins County Extension Office at 903-885-3443.
Coming Up: North East Texas Cow-Calf Clinic in Winnsboro, January 25, 2012 at the Sale Barn in Winnsboro. Cost $15. Lunch included.