Friday, April 23, 2010

Buttercup - A Pretty But Nasty Weed

In the last week, my phone has been ringing off the hook about a weed with yellow flowers in area pastures and hay fields. Without actually looking at a sample, my guess is that it is most likely a species of buttercup. Buttercup is a pretty weed (if only I could get my flowers in my garden to grow as fast as buttercup does); however, it can reek havoc on pasture and hay land.

Two of the common buttercups found in North Carolina are hairy buttercup and bulbous buttercup. Hairy buttercup appears to be predominant in the Piedmont and mountain regions, while bulbous buttercup is readily found in the Piedmont and Coastal Plain regions. Hairy buttercup is a hairy plant with erect, hairy stems (single or branching from the base) and a fibrous root system. Vegetative characteristics of hairy buttercup are similar to those of bulbous buttercup, except for the bulb-like swelling at the base of the stem on bulbous buttercup. Smallflower buttercup is also found in North Carolina, and can be distinguished from hairy buttercup by the lack of hairs on its leaves. In addition, hairy and bulbous buttercup have lobed leaves, whereas most of the lower leaves of smallflower buttercup are unlobed.

Buttercup is a winter annual or perrenial weed which germinate in the fall or winter and grow durings any warm weather, which may occur in the winter, but otherwise remains somewhat dormant during the winter. They resume growth and produce seed in the spring and die as temperatures increase in late spring and early summer. They quickly invade thin turf areas especially where there is good soil moisture. Shade may also encourage growth. Many have a prostrate growth habit and are not affected by mowing. A dense, vigorous turf is the best way to reduce the encroachment of winter annual weeds. First, select adapted grass cultivars for your area and then properly fertilize, mow, and water to encourage dense growth.

Fortunately, buttercup can be controlled with a number of broadleaf herbicides; however, keep in mind the most effective time to spray is going to be in early spring and fall.

So, if you think you have a problem with this particular weed and need to know what, when, and where to spray, please give me a call at 70-922-2112!

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