Suck It Up Buttercup

— Written By Katie Carter
en Español / em Português

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In the spring, cute little yellow flowers start popping up in pastures and hay fields. For livestock producers, however, these cute little yellow flowers are a real nightmare! These particular yellow flowers are called buttercups and they are bad news.

Buttercups are toxic to livestock and medical issues arise when the buttercups are ingested by livestock. Symptoms include blisters on the lips, swelling of facial tissue, drooling, colic, blood with diarrhea and urine, decreased appetite, low pulse rate, convulsions, skin twitching, and paralysis. It is important to keep pastures free of this problematic weed.

Having buttercups pop up in pastures and hay fields also means that there is a soil fertility issue that needs to be addressed. Soil samples need to be taken in order to determine what recommendations need to be followed to boost overall soil health.

Finally, buttercups are hard to control. Buttercups bloom from mid-April to May. During the fall, buttercups form rosettes that remain dormant during the winter. There are a few ways to control buttercups, one being improving soil fertility and the other is herbicide. 2,4-D and dicamba along with a surfactant provides a good control when applied in the early spring while the buttercups are still young and in rosette form. Once you start seeing the pretty little yellow flowers, you better suck it up buttercup, because it’s hard to get them under control at that point.

For more information contact your local Cooperative Extension Livestock or Crops Agent.

Toxic Plants in Midwest Pastures and Forages