Weed control – all about creeping buttercup

Creeping buttercup is a common weed that can form a troublesome network of shoots and roots. Here, we look at how to identify creeping buttercup and the best methods of getting rid of it for good.

What is creeping buttercup?

Creeping buttercup is a herbaceous perennial weed that establishes itself in moist soil. It spreads widely, particularly in heavy soils that are rich in clay. You might see it in lawns, shady borders and in areas of bare soil too. Creeping buttercup is easy to spot thanks to its pretty yellow flowers that appear from May to September. On mowed lawns, flowers may not appear, so creeping buttercup can be identified by its three-lobed, dark green leaves that grow from a central node. The leaves also have pale spots.

Why is creeping buttercup such a problem?

After mild and wet winters, creeping buttercup can thrive. Its strong and deeply penetrating roots establish, and sub-lateral runners form an anchored network of stems. Although it’s an attractive wildflower that often brightens parks and woodlands, it can be an undesirable feature on a garden lawn.

Controlling creeping buttercup

In spring, use a wire-tooth rake over a lawn before mowing. This process lifts runners and stops them from establishing. In borders, runners should be dug out then repeated hoeing throughout the summer keeps creeping buttercup at bay. However, for thick infestations in beds and borders, lift out cultivated plants before laying a geotextile membrane, such as Weedtex, before replanting. This will starve creeping buttercup roots of the light that this weed needs to thrive.

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