nasty weeds w/ purple flowers

sammy zone 7 TulsaMarch 19, 2011

What do you call those nasty weeds with purple flowers that have invaded my beds? They have suddenly cropped up everywhere. Sadly, I pruned my roses at the correct time, but did not have the time to clip them up for the trash. Now they are imbedded in those ugly weeds.


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Henbit, a cool season weed that will die out when temps get hot.


    Bookmark   March 19, 2011 at 7:48AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Mine is already yellowing and dying out here because we've been in the mid- to upper-80s all week.

I am not crazy about how invasive henbit it, but leave it alone until it starts dying back because the bees and other pollinators and beneficial insects need it at a time when not much else is blooming. Here where I live, it is one of the earliest signs of spring. Ours has been blooming since February and is dying back now. By the time it dies back, lots of other spring bloomers are in bloom for the bees and pollinators.

Once the foliage is yellowing, I pull it out of flower beds and mow it down in the yard. I don't let it grow in the veggie garden. Since the veggie garden is heavily mulched, it never has been much of a problem there because of the mulch. Any henbit that pop up there or in the strawberry beds, which are in a separate area, gets pulled right away.


    Bookmark   March 19, 2011 at 8:13AM
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I love it even though up until now I wrongly called it chickweed. Everyone's yard a beautiful purple. The only downside I see to the letting it die back theory is that it is setting seeds for next year. Go back in time and pull it before it flowers! Leaving enough outside your rose beds for the bees of course.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2011 at 8:36AM
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I have been fighting henbit and dandelion for some time now. I like the pollinators but I dont like the vet bills that go along with the bees.

I would like to have something for the bees in spring that is high in the air. We do have two Bradford pear trees and i expect the bees are on them, but I am always looking down to try to keep the dog away from the bees.


    Bookmark   March 19, 2011 at 8:47AM
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I let the Henbit and Dandelions "bee" because the butterflies and beneficials like bees use them as early nectar and pollen plants. I would rather see a field of these plants than one of Bermuda Grass.

Larry, I don't think the Bradfords attract much of anything. I have never seen bees or anything else for that matter, on mine, so don't think they produce much nectar or pollen. I wish they did, then I could say that at least they are good for something. They are the most invaluable tree I have witnessed. Good for nothing but eye candy. I don't understand why the commercial nurseries still sell them in Oklahoma - the worst environment for them.


    Bookmark   March 19, 2011 at 9:17AM
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They used to be my girls favorite.. and to this day, we call them "pretty purple flowers". LOL


    Bookmark   March 19, 2011 at 9:21AM
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Pallida(Zone 7b)

Henbit and Dandelions don't bother me nearly as much as Crabgrass, Mallow, Johnsongrass, Nutsedge and Quack Grass, mainly because they are so difficult to control, the reason being, if you pull them and leave even the tiniest root, tuber or rhizome in the soil, they return, with a vengence. Of course, I never seem to get out and get on pre-emergence in time!
Susan, you are SO right about Bradford Pears. There is decidedly over-kill on Bradfords and Photinias in this area. There are many beautiful flowering trees and hardy shrubs, especially trees with great fall color that could be used! Maples, Oaks, Redbuds, American Sweetgums, to name a few of the more common trees. Of course, depending on your age, it takes a while to grow a magnificent large tree speciman.


    Bookmark   March 19, 2011 at 11:54AM
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Jeanis, I really want a Sweet Gum, but just don't have enough room. Of course, I'd get one that is fruitless because those "gum balls" can be pretty evil to step on in bare feet. It is a favorite larval host for the beautiful Luna moth, too. And, I've heard you can use those evil little gumballs as a mulch beneath plants that are loved by slugs, like Hostas, for example. They suffer little damage from wind, and that makes it a really good tree for Oklahoma. Birds are attracted to the fruit as well.

Wah!!!! I want a Sweet Gum now more than ever.....


    Bookmark   March 19, 2011 at 12:53PM
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Pallida(Zone 7b)

Wow! What a great idea to use those nasty little balls as a mulch to repel slugs and snails! I don't have one, either, but would love to have one close to my West (bedroom) window for shade, and to admire in the Autumn when I awaken!

    Bookmark   March 19, 2011 at 2:11PM
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sammy zone 7 Tulsa

When we first moved here in 1979, the owner of a nursery told me not to purchase Bradford Pears. He explained that the wood is weak, people do not know how to prune them well, and they break consistently in storms.

I am really pleased that he gave me that advice. But when I pass some malls or streets in Tulsa now, the Breadford Pears as a grouping are gorgeous.

Right now the weeds in my yard are out of control, and look terrible. It is hard for me to get my grip on the henbit and dandelions. I don't know what the other ones are.

My poor hands are very tired from pruning, and do not need to pull out any weeds.


    Bookmark   March 19, 2011 at 4:37PM
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Pallida(Zone 7b)

Sammy, Your nurseryman was completely honest with you, and gave you the correct history of Bradford Pears. As I have said, having worked at nurseries in OKC
for several years, I KNOW that it is wise to seek out a reputable local nursery when shopping and needing gardening advice. They sell the garden plants that will do well in your growing area, although "supply and demand" forces them to carry some stock, such as Bradfords, because that is what people want.
Be patient. The heat will take care of the Henbit, and a good, long weed gig will take care of the Dandelions. Just don't let them go to seed. Gardening is fun, but it DOES keep you on your toes! HA.


    Bookmark   March 19, 2011 at 8:32PM
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