Buttercups

buttercupsThe yellow buttercups can take over in a matter of just a season if we are not vigilant in their removal.

Such a nice bright sunny yellow. I remember when we were kids, holding a buttercup flower under our friends chin. If our chin reflected yellow, it meant they liked butter. Buttercups can make a pretty daisy chain or as an accent in a white daisy chain.

Oh buttercups, how I could easily live without you!

A novice gardener, who helped others in their gardens, asked me, as she blasted the all mighty buttercups “How do you get rid of buttercups!” Organic Weed Control.
“You gotta pull em out, one by one, it’s the only way to eradicate them entirely making sure you get all of the roots” I told her.
While this is true, it is time consuming but works.

If you’re wanting to eradicate buttercups in a field or pasture, digging by hand is obviously not practical. You will have to plow. Apparently buttercups can not survive cultivation. So plowing and fertilizing may be the answer. Cultivating while the weather is hot also helps.
I would plow first and wait for a few weeks and plow again to ensure the new seedlings are also plowed under. May even try it a third time before amending if necessary, re-seeding and fertilizing.

If your lawn or pasture is well aerated with good drainage and lime is added so to neutralize the P.H., the buttercups should have a hard time taking hold again. Seeding and fertilizing an area where the drainage has also been improved will help establish a healthy grass or or field crop thus making it hard for the buttercups to re-establish.

Sure we can try chemicals, if we really want to but is something I avoid.

Adding lime will do nothing to established buttercups however but may help improve a high acid soil, thus creating an environment where buttercups won’t be able to thrive. Soil drainage is key but so is the condition of your soil. I find buttercups going mad in areas where the soil drainage is not the best.

We have a lot of clay so until the soil is amended, there drainage is poor which results in surface run off. Turns out buttercups really do love that clay soil.

The best way to remove buttercups in an established garden bed and surrounding area is to dig them out and here’s how I do it.

If I have a patch of buttercups, I will use a pitch fork to loosen the soil beneath them. This loosens the soil enough that you can easily get your fingers around the base of the buttercup plant and pull it out. Roots and all.
You want to get all the roots and pull these out before they go to seed!
If there are one or two I simply use my handy weeding tool.

Know that disturbing the soil in and around buttercups can activate seed germination so be prepared to have to dig again in the same area within a few weeks.

Persistence is also required if you really want to eradicate and control buttercups for good.

The best time to dig buttercups is in the early Spring or Fall because the soil is moist therefore easier to pull all the roots out with the plant.

What I find most frustrating is that you can pull till your hearts content but when you have neighbors that are less vigilant, you are going to get more.

Nonetheless, keep pulling and pull again. Improve soil drainage and PH of the soil. Reseed if desired and fertilize.

If you opt to mow down your buttercups, know that is only a temporary fix but can help for large areas where the point is to stop the flowering buttercups from going to seed until you finish simply removing them and it is simple, just very time consuming.

It is helpful to rake out your lawn first so to dislodge runners that have begun to establish themselves.
Remember to thoroughly clean your mowing and catchment system before using your mower elsewhere to avoid spreading buttercup bits and any seeds.

To eradicate a problem with buttercups, the short of it is to remove them first. Improve soil drainage. Apply lime, reseed and then fertilize.

  1. Snowy Zone 8 Winter 2017

    […] What I find most satisfying between downfalls and snowflakes, providing that the ground is no longer frozen is weeding out pesky areas. I find that especially weeds with long roots are much easier to pull right now. Now is the time to pull any unwanted docks and buttercups. […]