Need help managing buttercup that’s invaded your garden?
We get a lot of requests for help managing buttercup. That’s because this creeping buttercup is a tenacious garden invader. And if you’re like many modern gardeners, you want to get rid of buttercup without herbicides. And you want to know how to get buttercups out of your flowerbeds by getting those creeping buttercup roots all the way out of your soil.
Let’s start with some facts about creeping buttercup.
Creeping buttercup is not a native plant to most cultivated gardens. But many of us have it abundance. This is especially true in the rainy Pacific Northwest. That’s because creeping buttercup loves soggy soil. And even if you aren’t in the PacNW, buttercup may be in your garden. That’s because it can withstand seasonal dryness as well. In fact, that’s a weed for you! These unwanted plants know how to adapt, thrive, and out-compete other plants.
Okay, so how can you better manage buttercup weeds?
First, think about the name creeping. That’s because this is exactly what this plant is adapted to do. So, once it has taken root in the garden, a single plant has the ability to stretch out stems. And what stretches out, roots in the ground. But, it stays connected to the original plant, which feeds and supports it. So, buttercup easily creates a second plant, and a third, and a…well, you get the idea.
It creeps and spreads as it goes, creating a thick, ground cover patch fast.
So…where will you likely need to manage buttercup in your garden?
Buttercup will invade soggy pond spaces. And it will take over lawns. Plus, it will smother mixed planting beds as it travels.
Since it likes soggy soils, digging it out isn’t always terribly difficult. That’s because when many types of soils are moist, they tend to be more loose and pliable. And that’s a good time to work on hand removal.
And what tools work best for managing buttercup?
The combination of two tools for the job makes for relatively quick work when digging out buttercup. And if you can work as a team of two or more people, weeding out buttercup will go even faster.
- Tool #1: Garden spading fork
- Tool #2: Hori-hori garden knife
Once you have these tools, you’re armed to do battle! This is how to get rid of buttercups naturally. In other words, you won’t be applying pesticides to get rid of creeping buttercups.
And, if you don’t have your buttercup weeding tools yet, pick’m up in our affiliate store today.
Next, how to use these tools to deal with buttercup weeds?
Begin by passing through the weed patch with your spading fork. That means you’ll use the fork to loosen up the soil. But don’t completely turn everything over. Just shove it into the ground, and then tilt it to loosen the weeds.
Then, you (or the second person on your weeding team) follows behind using the garden knife to lift each plant –and any runner plants — from the soil. But don’t just rip the top growth off, or the plant will simply re-grow. Instead, get to the root of the matter and remove it all.
Then, place the weeds on a tarp to fry them in the hot sun until they’re crispy. If you don’t, they may just sprout anew in the yard waste or in your compost heap.
Got farm animals to help with weeding?
Unfortunately, buttercup isn’t a plant you want to eat. That’s because it’ll give you one nasty bellyache. And, it might do worse too. However, sometimes chickens do a good job tearing it up, but they don’t really eat it. And, friends with pigs tell us those oinkers love to help you with managing buttercup weeds by gobbling them up. But creeping buttercup is actually toxic to most livestock. So better to keep farm animals away from buttercups instead.
While you’re weeding, pick those shiny yellow flowers. Tuck one under your weeding partner’s chin in the sunlight. If there’s a golden reflection shining up, the game says that person loves butter.
It’s an old game we played with our grandparents. And while it isn’t super exciting, it does make weeding a little more fun.
A final note on how to manage buttercup weeds…
As with all weeds, try to eradicate them before they flower. That’s because seeds follow flowers, which mean more plants.
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