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Creeping buttercups are recognisable in the way they grow with runners. The iconic yellow flowers are around 0.8 inches (2cm) across and have hairy leaves which are divided into three lobes with frayed edges. These wildflowers are tricky to eliminate from one’s garden because the whole plant needs to be removed from the ground.
Buttercups are widespread in meadows, pastures, parks, woodland areas and gardens.
The weeds, called creeping buttercups by many, thrive on wet soil.
They are easily recognised with their bright yellow flowers which attract pollinating insects.
The plant flowers from May to August when it attracts flies, beetles and bees including honey bees.
Creeping buttercup foliage is poisonous to livestock as the sap contains protoanemonin.
Grazing animals however often avoid buttercups because the foliage has an acrid taste.
The flowers can become particularly troublesome in moister soils where it grows strongly and roots deeply.
After mild wet winters and in heavy soils rich in clay, creeping buttercup spreads widely.
How to get rid of buttercups
Creeping buttercups can be difficult to eradicate among permanent plantings in borders and in the fruit garden.
The presence of the weed often calls for improvements in soil structure and drainage.
The flowers are not unattractive, but the foliage of creeping buttercup can be coarser than meadow buttercup which tends to stay more low-lying.
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Creeping buttercups can be managed in an organic manner by digging out the plant.
Use a fork or trowel to dig up the weed and ensure it is removed from your garden.
You should then mulch it deeply to smother the weed.
In laws, in the most prolific cases, you should lift the turf and replace it.
You should dig out the plants in the spring when they are young.
Repeated hoeing through the summer months will also help to eliminate the weed.
Both the digging out and hoeing will need to be repeated several times for full control.
In addition to digging out the plant, you can use a sheet of black plastic mulch over the area where the weed grows during the summer to kill it.
Weedkiller may also be used to tackle the issue.
If you apply the weedkiller in spring when growth is vigorous, you can deter the spread of creeping buttercups.
You should repeat the application of weedkiller to ensure it remains at bay for good.
Make sure to apply weedkiller in cool, moist and calm weather when there is least risk of accidentally spraying nearby garden plants.
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