How to safely remove buttercups (ranunculus spp.)

Asked May 16, 2016, 1:58 PM EDT

What herbicide can I safely use to kill buttercups on a grazing paddock (an acre or less)? What is the timeframe to wait to let animals back on a sprayed area? How can I prevent buttercups from returning?

Lane County Oregon

1 Response

Buttercup species can be managed mechanically and with herbicides. Herbicides such as MCPA can be effective but may required multiple applications. The Pacific Northwest Weed Management Handbook provides up-to-date recommendations for problem weeds. Creeping Buttercup, Ranunculus repens, a perennial species is listed in this resource. There are also annual species such as
Ranunculus parviflorus which can be managed by mechanical means such as hand pulling or mowing prior to seed set.

All herbicide labels will have information about grazing restrictions specific to the product. Good pasture and grazing management practices such as attending to soil quality (avoiding compaction for example), plant available nutrients, and rotational grazing will provide opportunity for the desirable grass plants to out-compete weed species. This is the best form of prevention, as well as ensuring weed-free sources of feed and composting manure resources to reduce weed seed viability.