Purple Deadnettle – Weed ID Wednesday
Have you noticed a small slender plant in your pastures that is a darker purple towards the top but green towards the bottom? It could be purple deadnettle! The stem is square, which is easy to feel with your fingers. The leaves are scalloped shape and opposite each other. Purple deadnettle is often confused with henbit, as they look similar and both have square stems. The reddish-purple color to the upper leaves as it matures is one distinctive difference to purple deadnettle.
Purple deadnettle is a winter annual weed, which means that it germinates in the fall, grows into winter, then flowers and seeds out in early spring. Purple deadnettle will die off as the temperatures increase, but shaded areas may encourage growth. Per their growth habits, mowing is not an effective form of long term control for purple deadnettle.
The best form of control for purple deadnettle is to have dense grass growth that out competes the weed. A soil test is needed in order to receive accurate fertilizer and lime recommendations.
Purple deadnettle has no reported toxic properties but henbit has caused problems with sheep, so identifying which of the two is present would be more important for farms with sheep.