Buttercups may look like pretty little yellow flowers, but they are actually strong weeds that can wreak havoc on a lawn if allowed to spread. The most common variety is the creeping buttercup (Ranunculus repens), which is able to put down roots practically anywhere in your garden. It is most attracted to thin, poorly drained soil. It is possible to get rid of buttercups on your lawn, but it may take more than one attempt and requires ongoing measures to keep them from returning.
Things You'll Need
- Fork or trowel
- Chemical or organic herbicide
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Dig out buttercups using a trowel or fork. Wear protective gloves; buttercups release oils that can irritate the skin. Pull out deep roots with your hands, making sure you remove the whole root system. Mature buttercups have roots up to 12 inches long. Lift sections of turf with a shovel if buttercups are widespread. Lay new turf.
Apply a chemical or organic herbicide. Follow the manufacturer's directions for use and make sure it states on the label that it is suitable to use on a lawn. Wear protective gloves and goggles. Apply it in cool, calm weather if possible, to avoid it accidentally spreading to adjacent plants. The best time to apply herbicide is in the springtime, before the weeds have flowers, or in late summer, when they are moving food from the leaves to the roots. You may need to repeat the application process several times if weeds are proving to be particularly stubborn.
Stop buttercups from coming back by keeping your lawn healthy and well-fertilized. Improve the lawn's drainage through regular aerating. Rake your lawn before each mowing to loosen trailing weed stems and runners.