Will Vinegar Kill Creeping Buttercup?

You might be able to kill creeping buttercup with vinegar if you only have a tiny patch of it. Use a spray guard, such as the one described in “How to Spray Weeds and Insects Without Killing Everything Else,” to accomplish this in an area where other plants are flourishing.

How can invasive creeping buttercup be eliminated?

When the creeping buttercup is actively growing, herbicides containing MCPA (known by several trade names) or Aminopyralid (Milestone) are effective at controlling it. Glyphosate-containing products, like as Round Up and many others, work best when used in the summer or fall. Additionally, glyphosate will kill any nearby vegetation.

How can I naturally get rid of buttercups?

It is environmentally responsible and better for us and the environment to use less pesticides in the landscape. Buttercups grow low to the ground, making them resistant to typical treatments like mowing. Furthermore, hoeing or rototilling are ineffective because they leave behind tiny fragments of plant materials that can reappear and regrow.

In modest infestations, hand plucking is feasible, but you must use a tool made to cut deep roots and extract every piece of the weed. When working with the plants, put on protective clothing as well because the sap can cause severe skin irritation.

At this time, there are no known biological methods to eradicate buttercup weeds. One method to reduce plant growth is to alter the local growing environment. Buttercup prefers compact, nutrient-deficient soil with a low pH. Reduce soil acidity, improve percolation, and enrich the soil to suppress buttercups by cultural means.

What can be sprayed to eradicate buttercups?

Buttercup is typically controlled with herbicides like 2,4-D (2-3 pints/acre), 2,4-D (1 quart) + dicamba (1 pint), metsulfuron/MSM (0.2-0.3 oz), or Crossbow (2-3 quarts).

Is groundcover killed by vinegar?

Natural products like vinegar are typically made from grains, apples, or grapes. Through a fermentation process, it is distilled. The normal acidity rating for vinegar is 5%. This indicates that the active component, acetic acid, is present at 5%.

Vinegar kills weeds because of its acetic acid content. In actuality, it renders vinegar plant-killing. Because it removes all the moisture from the leaf, acetic acid, regardless of its source, will destroy the majority of plants.

It moves quickly. For sensitive weeds, spraying full strength vinegar on a plant in direct sunlight may frequently result in a withered, brown plant within a few hours, or by the next day for tougher plants.

Because it is non-selective, anything it touches could be destroyed. This limits the effectiveness of vinegar weed killers to the extent that you can avoid accidentally spraying desirable plants.

Do you have any areas where you could put these vinegar weed killer qualities to use? How do you use it if it sounds like a good idea? Suddenly, something intriguing happens.

What eliminates lawns’ spreading buttercups?

Buttercups’ foliage is harmful to livestock because their sap contains protoanemonin, yet grazing animals typically stay away from them because of their unpleasant taste.

In moister soils where it may grow vigorously and have deep roots, creeping buttercup can become especially problematic. Lawns, borders, and bare patches of ground all contain it.

Creeping buttercup spreads widely and is challenging to get rid of from amid permanent plantings in borders and the fruit garden after warm, rainy winters and in thick, clay-rich soils. The appearance of this plant frequently suggests that drainage and soil structure need to be improved. On this page, we look at solutions for gardeners who are having issues with creeping buttercup.


From May through September, the characteristic glossy-yellow blooms of creeping buttercup (Ranunculus repens) are not unattractive, but the foliage is rougher and it tends to stay lower. In mowed grass, flowering might not exist.

In contrast to lesser yellow celandine (Ficaria verna subsp. verna), creeping buttercup does not produce bulbs.

The problem

Long runners and robust, white, deeply penetrating roots that emerge from each node of the leaf are how creeping buttercup spreads. As they grow, sub-lateral runners create a robust, well anchored network of stems.

In moist conditions, small nodal pieces of stems may become established if removed and disseminated as the roots start to grow. However, reproduction is typically through seeds.


First, determine whether non-chemical methods like mulching or digging out may be used to achieve this. Chemical controls might be required in situations where these alternatives are not practical.

The first line of defense against pests, diseases, and weeds, according to the RHS, should be good cultivation practices, cultivar selection, garden hygiene, and encouraging or introducing natural enemies. Chemical controls should only be applied sparingly and very specifically if at all.

Cultural control

Before cutting the grass in the spring, raise the emerging runners with a wire-toothed rake so that the mower may cut them. Aerate in the fall to enhance drainage.

In the spring, remove runners and immature plants using a trowel. This weed can also be removed with repeated hoeing all throughout the summer. For complete control, both procedures will need to be repeated multiple times.

When weeds are really dense, the only alternative may be to lift the attractive plants, remove any sections of the weeds, and hold the cleaned plants in weed-free ground while the border is cleared of weeds over the course of the summer using the techniques indicated for bare soil.

This weed can be eliminated using digging and hoeing. Alternately, cover it with a sheet of mulch-colored plastic. This needs to stay in place all summer long.

Weedkiller control

Creeping buttercup can be controlled by the majority of lawn weedkillers, such as Doff Lawn Weedkiller or Westland Resolva Lawn Weedkiller Extra. When growth is active in the spring, apply, and if necessary, repeat.

Creeping buttercup can be controlled with glyphosate-based weedkillers, such as Roundup Fast Action, SBM Job done General Purpose Weedkiller, or Doff Advanced Weedkiller. However, due to the non-selective nature of glyphosate’s effect, it is imperative to keep garden plants away from spray or spray drift. If you need to treat weeds that are right next to garden plants, be sure to apply gently during calm, cool weather. While spraying, branches or shoots can be restrained by canes, covering, or screens. However, before releasing branches or removing the covering, make sure the weed foliage has dried.

It can be completely eradicated with the use of a glyphosate-based weedkiller (see above), applied in the spring or summer.

A weedkiller product’s inclusion does not imply a recommendation or endorsement from the RHS. It is a list of products that are currently accessible to gardeners at home.

When should buttercups be sprayed?

The foliage will be burned and killed by contact weedkillers, but the roots and runners will continue to develop, create new leafy growth, and spread.

Spray with a systemic weedkiller for the best results. A systemic weedkiller that goes down to the roots after being absorbed by the leaves.

In order to make sure the weedkiller is effective:

  • When the creeping buttercups are actively growing, which is primarily from March/April through September/October, spray the leaves.
  • The amount of weedkiller that may be absorbed and transported to the roots increases proportionately to the size of the leaf area present. Therefore, wait till the leaves have grown larger before spraying.
  • Spray the leaves with a fine mist to completely cover them in tiny droplets.
  • Spray in the evening during the summer to reduce evaporation and to offer the most time possible for absorption. Spray earlier in the day in the spring or if an overnight dew is predicted so that it can dry before the dew comes.
  • It’s unlikely that one weed killer spray will completely eradicate the spreading buttercups. It might be necessary to spray once, let the plants die, and then spray any regrowth once more. Depending on how severe it is, three or more applications per year spread over a few years may be required to totally eradicate it.

The majority of contact weedkillers are total weedkillers, meaning they will kill or severely harm any plants whose leaves they come into touch with. Make sure to keep the spray away from desired plants, such as lawns, and, if required, cover plants with polythene or something similar before spraying.

When trying to treat creeping buttercups growing through or close to desired plants, Roundup Gel, which is put over and clings to the weed leaves, may be a better option.

Don’t misuse weed killers. Before using a product, always read the label and the instructions.

Why do buttercups die in pastures?

Extension weed scientist Dr. J.D. Green The appearance of buttercup’s yellow blooms is one of the first indications that spring has arrived, but the plant grows vegetatively during the winter. This plant, a cool-season weed, frequently grows on overgrazed pasture fields with scant stands of nutritious forages. In actuality, a lot of areas with dense populations of buttercups are fields that receive a lot of grazing from early fall to late spring.

Although they frequently grow as winter annuals, buttercups are occasionally categorized as short-lived perennials. In the early spring, plants normally develop five glossy yellow petals. Buttercups come in four different varieties that can be found in Kentucky: the tall buttercup (Ranunculus acris), the bulbous buttercup (Ranunculus bulbosus), and the little flower buttercup (Ranunculus arbortivus). Although some of these plants’ flower heads may resemble one another, the vegetative leaf properties of each of these buttercup species vary slightly. The period when the petals are showy is when new seed are produced. It may be too late to put control measures into place if you wait until the blooms bloom. This is one of the reasons buttercups thrive year after year and sprout new plants.

The majority of buttercup plants sprout from seeds in the late winter or fall. Therefore, one of the best ways to help compete against the emergence and growth of this plant is to use pasture management techniques that enhance and promote growth of desirable plants during these months. However, one of the main causes of buttercup issues is the overgrazing of fields by livestock during the fall and winter. In the early spring, before buttercup plants can bloom, mowing fields or cutting plants near to the ground may help minimize the amount of fresh seed generated, although mowing by itself won’t completely stop seed production.

Herbicides approved for use on grass pastures that contain 2,4-D will successfully manage buttercup through chemical means. Products containing dicamba+2,4-D (e.g., Weedmaster), aminopyralid (e.g., ForeFront, Milestone), triclopyr (e.g., PastureGard, Crossbow), or metsulfuron (e.g., Cimarron) can also be employed, depending on the presence of other weeds. However, these herbicide compounds have the potential to seriously harm or even kill legumes, such as clovers interseeded with grass pastures. When buttercup plants are still young and actively growing in the early spring (February to March), before flowers are visible, herbicide application will produce the best results. Wait until daytime air temperatures are more than 50 F for two to three consecutive days for the optimum herbicide activity. For more information on prohibited grazing, safety measures, or other potential restrictions, consult the herbicide label.

A variety of control methods may be required for fields that are heavily buttercup infested. To help increase and thicken the stand of suitable forages, adopt proper pasture management practices all year long in addition to applying a herbicide in the spring to help lower the population of buttercup plants.

This plant frequently grows well in grazing pastures with poor stands of suitable forages that have been overgrazed.


Use an old kitchen knife or a daisy grubber that resembles a spike to dig or grub out daisies from lawns. Alternately, you can use a knife to hack through the foliage mats on a weekly basis to weaken and loosen the plants. Gather grass cuttings so that you can scatter flowers. Hand-pull or hand-dig out daisies from the borders.

What creatures will consume buttercups?

We keep getting inquiries about that yellow plant that has started to appear in fields all over Hardin County. Many people have questioned what it is and whether or not livestock can consume it.

This essay, which was created using data from multiple University of Kentucky Extension experts, should assist in providing some clarification.

Around 600 species of Ranunculus, also referred to as buttercup or crowfoot, are found in the world.

Kentucky is home to almost 30 different Ranunculus species, according to the most recent USDA PLANTS database.

Grazing livestock typically steer clear of the strong, pungent flavor of fresh ranunculus leaves, flowers, and stems. Ranunculin, a substance hydrolyzed to protoanemonin when plants are harmed, for instance by grazing or mowing, is present in varied amounts in some Ranunculus species. A vesicant, prototoanemonin can blister the skin, mouth, and digestive tract when it comes into contact with them.

The most toxic Ranunculus species are those with high ranunculin levels. Although specific studies to support this claim have not yet been published, dried dough is anticipated to lose its toxic potential fairly quickly. Upon drying, protonemonin transforms into the non-vesicant chemical anemonin.

Ingestion of ranunculus may result in mouth soreness, blisters, drooling, oral and stomach ulcers, colic, and diarrhea. If considerable amounts of Ranunculus are consumed, clinical symptoms may be severe, although horses and cattle normally stop grazing further due to the bitter taste. These symptoms normally only appear when animals are compelled to eat ranunculus because there are no alternative food sources available.

The plants, especially the immature stages, are more likely to be consumed by sheep than by other grazing animals. Horses are perhaps the species that reacts to Ranunculus’ gastrointestinal affects the most strongly. According to one anecdotal observation, there may be a connection between cow miscarriages and the occurrence of Ranunculus in pastures. The same potential relationship in horses is suggested by another. Both horses and cattle have failed to catch the illness, and the relationship between the two has not been proven.

A review of UKVDL data from the previous 13 years revealed no instances of livestock deaths linked to ranunculus consumption. It’s possible that eating Ranunculus has led to incidents of colic or diarrhea that were never linked to the plant. Ranunculus thrives in overgrazed meadows because animals try to avoid grazing it.

Maintaining proper stocking rates prevents overgrazing. Starving animals are more likely to become poisoned by ranunculus. As long as there is an abundance of other forage, there is little risk in Kentucky; unpleasant fresh plants are often avoided whenever feasible, and dried plants are less toxic than fresh ones.

Hardin County Extension agent for agriculture and natural resources is Doug Shepherd.