How to Eliminate Creeping Buttercups

Updated February 21, 2017

Creeping buttercup is an invasive weed that spreads through seeds and rhizomes. This makes cultivation an improper method of eradication because the broken shoots or root pieces will propagate within the turned soil. Chemical treatment and manual removal will take care of existing stands, and blocking sunlight from reaching the soil afterwards will prevent the growth of future seeds or shoots. It takes longer than one growing season to clear an area of a creeping buttercup population.

Spray the creeping buttercup with a glyphosate herbicide according to the package directions, for spot treatment or if the problem is in a field. For buttercup growing in the lawn, use a broadleaved herbicide according to the package directions.

Wait the instructed amount of time for the chemicals to kill the buttercup. Dig up the dead creeping buttercup in fall or spring with a sharp trowel. Get as much of the root system as possible. Discard the plant in the trash.

Cover the newly bare soil with a piece of cardboard to block the sunlight and prevent growth of dormant seeds in the soil. Cover the cardboard with 2 inches of top soil and 2 inches of straw. The cardboard will break down.

Pull up any buttercup shoots that resprout on the edges of the cardboard. Pull them up as soon as they emerge.

Things You'll Need

  • Glyphosate or broadleaved herbicide
  • Trowel
  • Cardboard
  • Topsoil
  • Straw
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About the Author

Based in Richmond, Va., Dawn Gibbs writes about topics such as history, fashion, literature, crafts, alternative medicine and healthy living. Her work has appeared on and several style websites. Gibbs holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from Virginia Commonwealth University.