What winter annual weed is the first to grow and flower in our no-till fields?
One of the first winter annual weeds we notice in the spring because of its purple flowers is Henbit. Henbit is only 4 to 12 inches tall and has multiple branched stems. One thing unique about henbit is its square stems. The leaves are opposite on the stem and lobed. The entire plant is covered in sparse fine hairs and the plant is aromatic because it is a member of the mint family. Another interesting fact about this weed is that it also has some closed or non-opening self-pollinating flowers, which is called cleistogamy. The early production of seed in the spring prior to burndown herbicide applications is the main reason the patches of henbit are growing in no-till fields. Though henbit has shallow roots it can dry out the soil in the top 6 inches because of these high number of plants in a small area. Another negative aspect of this weed is that it is an alternate host for soybean cyst nematodes. For more information on Henbit and controlling this weed, visit our local agronomy website at croptechcafe.org.
This Local Ag Fact of the Week is featured in the Fremont Tribune weekend Ag Page
Have trouble controlling henbit, get a copy of the 2017 Guide to Weed Management from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension for help.