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How to get rid of buttercups in a lawn

Updated November 21, 2016

Buttercups are perennial weeds that pop up in the spring within lawns and flower gardens. They can pose problems for your garden, because the buttercups compete with grass and ornamental plants for sunlight, soil moisture and nutrients. Failure to properly eradicate the buttercup weeds can lead to a decline in rhe health of your garden. In addition, those with livestock should remove the weeds because buttercups contain xalate compounds, which is harmful to some animals.

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  1. Apply a pre-emergent herbicide in the spring to prevent buttercup seeds from germinating. Use a pre-emergent herbicide that is chemically formulated to control broadleaved weed seeds. Pre-emergent herbicide will not kill off existing weeds; therefore, it is important to apply the spray when the ground warms up in early spring. Apply the herbicide and water the lawn to activate the chemicals.

  2. Dig up buttercups growing near tree seedlings. Tree seedlings are sensitive to chemicals such as herbicides. Water the area and press a shovel underneath the weeds to lift their roots out of the soil.

  3. Apply a post-emergent herbicide to buttercups growing near ornamental plants with a paintbrush. Use a post-emergent herbicide that contains glyphosate. Dip the paintbrush in the herbicide and paint it on to the buttercup's leaves. Avoid getting post-emergent broad spectrum herbicide on your grass or ornamental plants, because the chemicals will kill any vegetation on contact.

  4. Spray your grass with a post-emergent herbicide that contains dicamba to control buttercups. Apply the post-emergent herbicide on a dry day to allow the foliage to absorb the chemicals. Refrain from spraying post-emergent herbicide during September to October.

  5. Broadcast grass seeds in the former location of the buttercup weeds to prevent them from growing back, By growing a dense lawn, you can prevent weeds from spreading.

  6. Tip

    Wear safety gear such as gloves, goggles and a mask when spraying herbicide.


    Keep children and pets indoors when spraying your lawn with herbicide.

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Things You'll Need

  • Pre-emergent herbicide
  • Shovel
  • Post-emergent herbicide
  • Grass seeds
  • Gloves
  • Goggles
  • Mask

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