Buttercup information

Last post 05-04-2007 2:05 PM by dbbear. 27 replies.
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  • 05-04-2007 2:05 PM

    Buttercup information

    It's THAT time of the year. Who has buttercups? Ew..I HATE them, although they WERE fun as a kid. I know MOST horses won't eat them, but Stewie WILL and it was a colossal pain in the a$$ to remove them last year. (in an environmentally safe way, instead of spraying we dug them out. It took about 15,000 years, or at least that's what it felt like)

    Here's the info from our closest equine authority, Rutgers:



    There are many species of buttercups found in New Jersey. Some species prefer wet conditions, other survive in dry pastures. Buttercups are perennial plants that over-winter as corms and reproduce by seed. They are very common in the state and are found in virtually all pasture situations. They thrive in low fertility soils and in overgrazed pastures.

    Buttercups can be toxic to livestock, but are extremely unpalatable. Animals that are healthy, well-fed, and have access to plenty of pasture or hay rarely consume buttercups or other toxic plants. The fresh leaves and flowers of all buttercup species are toxic when consumed fresh, but the plants lose their toxic properties when dried in hay. If the plant is consumed, horses will exhibit signs of severe gastritis, marked by increased salivation, decreased appetite, colic and diarrhea. In severe cases, poisoning may lead to convulsions and death.


    The best defense against buttercups, and all weeds for that matter, is to maintain a healthy stand of forage grasses. Cool season grasses such as bluegrass, perennial rye, orchardgrass, brome and timothy grow rapidly in spring. Fertilizing grasses and rotating pastures to encourage the grasses to remain thick and healthy allows them to out-compete weeds by preventing bare spots and shading the ground. Thick pasture grasses allow little room for the establishment of weed seedlings. Frequent mowing will also reduce buttercup seed production.


    Since buttercups are perennials, once they are heavily established in a pasture, it may be necessary to use an herbicide to remove them. It may take several herbicide applications to reduce the population of buttercups. You may want to contact a local crop production service representative or hire a commercial applicator to apply herbicides. Turf type "weed and feed" products are not labeled for use on pastures.


    Fortunately, Ally/Cimarron is a very safe and effective herbicide for controlling buttercups. Ally is a liquid, soil-applied herbicide that moves into the plant through the root system. Ally can be applied in spring or early summer at the rate of .1 to .3 oz per acre. There is no grazing restriction for Ally and horses can be returned to the pastures immediately. It is also possible to tank-mix Ally with liquid fertilizers in spring. Ally should only be applied to grasses that have been established for at least 6 months. For timothy, at least 12 months is desirable and tall fescue should be established for at least 24 months. Ally is very persistent in the soil, therefore crop rotation guidelines must be adhered to. Ally should not be used if you plan to overseed the pastures, since the herbicide will remove new grass seedlings as well as the weeds.


    A combination of 2,4-D and Banvel can also be used to reduce buttercup populations. These products are also applied as a liquid but translocate through the plant to the roots. The best time to kill buttercups with this herbicide combination is in spring, before flowering, or in late summer, when the plants are moving food from the leaves to the roots. Grasses should be well established before applying 2,4-D/Banvel, but pastures can generally be overseeded 4-6 weeks after an application of these products. There is a seven day grazing restriction for certain formulations of 2,4-D and different manufacturer's products may have various grazing restrictions. Always carefully read the label before using any pesticide.


    Remember that Ally and 2,4-D/Banvel are broadleaf herbicides that will also eliminate existing clover plants in pastures.


    For assistance in identifying and controlling weeds in pastures, contact your local Cooperative Extension Office. Use pesticides only when necessary at the correct rate and time. Read the complete label and follow all precautions listed. Where trade names appear, no discrimination is intended and no endorsement is implied.
    I don't drink coffee sir. I don't drink any hot liquids. That's the devil's temperature.

  • 05-04-2007 2:12 PM In reply to

    Re: Buttercup information

    I have them too. I do not like using pesticides so every year I just pull up and burn as many as I can. There aren't nearly as many this year as there have been in the past. The key is getting them up after they bloom but before the seeds fall off and then burning them. They're easiest to pull up after a good rain. Even my goats won't eat them, lol.
  • 05-04-2007 2:28 PM In reply to

    Re: Buttercup information

    We have TONS of yellow flowers everywhere down here in the south... but I don't bother to do anything with them (I don't have enough time to do diddly about them! pulling them would be a full time job!) Never had any issues with them at all.

  • 05-04-2007 2:30 PM In reply to

    Re: Buttercup information

    I wouldn't bother w/them if my guys had really good grazing but sadly they don't. Soooo to try to head off an more vet bills I just yank the suckers up.
  • 05-04-2007 2:30 PM In reply to

    Re: Buttercup information

    are you saying Stewie will eat things even a GOAT won't eat?! *fanning self* LOL!!!

    I don't know how they'll be since we tore them up last year. Someone suggest mowing them down, but wouldn't the mowed plants just drop their seeds anyway? Then I'd have to bag the clippings from a whole pasture. Pass!
    I don't drink coffee sir. I don't drink any hot liquids. That's the devil's temperature.

  • 05-04-2007 2:31 PM In reply to

    Re: Buttercup information

    Glad I'm not the only one, lol. I'll be honest, I've never even tried to get rid of them. Like I said in the other thread, after 14 years of horses grazing in buttercup infested pastures I haven't had a reason to.


    Storybook Farm & Equine Rescue
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  • 05-04-2007 2:31 PM In reply to

    Re: Buttercup information

    I have no time for pulling weeds in my pasture. I can barely get the flower beds around the house done let alone the pasture. My solutions is just mow them. Grin


    If you don't want to stand behind our soldiers who are in danger zones, please stand in front of one.

    If you really open your ears and eyes, you will see that there is alot of great advice given on here. You just have to see it and hear it without closing off your mind.


    VanHalen 26 yr QH Stallion R.I.P. 4/11/82 - 5/8/08 24 wonderful years together.
    Scout 25-28 yr Paint/Draft Cross Gelding
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  • 05-04-2007 2:32 PM In reply to

    Re: Buttercup information

    If you mow do so before they quit blooming. The seeds come after the blooms. Smile

    And yes Stewie has a stomach of steel! lol
  • 05-04-2007 2:32 PM In reply to

    Re: Buttercup information

    Mine are closed off the pasture during the day and only let out at night because they're pigs. Even picking around at the grass in the paddocks that are filled with them.. they don't eat it Smile and my two will usually eat anything/everything! Smile
  • 05-04-2007 2:37 PM In reply to

    Re: Buttercup information

    Add afew Mesquite trees and that would be my place right there! LOL


  • 05-04-2007 2:41 PM In reply to

    Re: Buttercup information

    no issues! Humpf! Remember last year when Stew and his friend came to visit. It wasn't pretty. Good thing Stew's immortal and all so he came back to life. I attached a pic if you forgot the incident.

    I don't drink coffee sir. I don't drink any hot liquids. That's the devil's temperature.

  • 05-04-2007 3:32 PM In reply to

    Re: Buttercup information

    Very funny picture cita...

    I have mowed the buttercups the last few years...and now...low and behold...I hardly have any.

    Although, maybe if the sun would ever come out here...they might pop up on me. If that's the case...I will mow em down again!



    Horse-n-a-Hound Farm
  • 05-04-2007 3:47 PM In reply to

    Re: Buttercup information

    LOL... well then... maybe Stew's name should be changed to Darwin Poster Child? Laugh
  • 05-04-2007 3:53 PM In reply to

    Re: Buttercup information

    Very interesting info, Cita. Thanks for starting a new thread.

    Does anyone know if they spread like dandelions do? I suppose google would tell me if I bothered to ask, ha ha.

    I've seen fields invaded by dandelions, but not buttercups (maybe it's a regional thing or maybe I'm just blind as a bat Stick out tounge) I was at one barn in WI and another in VA that had been overgrazed and green weeds moved in. Neither BO realized that the greenery was inedible by the horses in their care. Having been through a situation like that, I'm left wondering if they'd even know that buttercups potentially present life-threatening issues (the WI ower also didn't hay properly).

    Thankfully buttercups make themselves taste bad so that animals avoid eating them, so a place that does properly feed shouldn't have to worry too much.

    If I had my own pasture, I would probably spray, mow and reseed a good grass mix. I can't imagine trying to pull acres of them!

    Then again, I'm very fond of obsessing over my animals' health. Just ask poor Harry who can't take a breath without me watching him like a hawk Smile
    Please visit the Morab Horse Association & Register, Inc. Dare to be different-Ride a Morab!


    Bailey & J in the 2004 Midwest Horse Fair Parade of Breeds. He was 4 years old :)


  • 05-04-2007 4:10 PM In reply to

    Re: Buttercup information

    wish you'd drag yer arse down here and at least bury the stinkin carcass......

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