Buttercup and Rabbits

February 5, 2018

creeping buttercup

One of the weeds in my yard is creeping buttercup. I haven’t cared too much about it in the yard until Skipper moved in. Buttercup is considered toxic to rabbits, and it is crazy hard to get rid of in wet climates.

This plant sends out little vines that start new plants, and according to King County extension office one creeping Buttercup plant can multiply over 40 sq ft!

Creeping Buttercup
This is one I captured! and you can see a beginning plant on the left side.

In the pasture management class we learned that attacking these plants needs to be timed appropriately for it to do any damage. They way you find out when the best times are is to learn the life cycle of the plant and the conditions it grows.

Creeping buttercup loves wet, compacted, high acidic soil. To make seeds it sends up flowers in late summer to be pollinated, and germinate in the fall. With heavy moisture and limited competition from nearby grass the creeping buttercup can become fat and happy over the winter and spring.

With this is mind we could deduce that removing any flowering plants in the summer and encouraging healthy grass growth we can limit the spread. We could also guess that manual removal of the plant in the later winter early spring will decrease their energy absorption. However, soil must be amended (Lime works great) and other plants/grasses encouraged to grow otherwise this removal will be called ‘heading back’ and that only encourages plants to grow faster. Most sources say this needs to be done for a few years before the seeds already in the soil run out.

Another way is to use chemicals. This can be necessary when trying to turn old city lots or logged out hillsides into healthy soils again. When using chemicals make sure you are using it at the right time. You want to apply when you see the flowers, and again you may need to do this multiple times with a well established plant. When spraying you are also hurting our pollinator friends  so try putting a cover over any sprayed areas.


Here are some good articles for more information:

Bunny Wellness
Creeping Buttercup King County
Creeping Buttercup Maryland Extension

And a cute picture of Skipper:

Rabbit eating clover
Skipper eating the delicious clover I put in last fall in hopes to limit the buttercup growth.

Happy Crafting!

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