I’m having a lot of creeping buttercup taking over my small 1 acre pasture. What is a good way to get rid of it without putting poison down. It is in a low spot That stays pretty damp primarily but it is spreading up I’ve found it in about 1/4 of the pasture. It is about 20-30yards from a small pond.
Chickens love buttercups, so I have used chicken tractors to take out buttercups, cause disturbance to bring up grass seed from the natural seed bank, and fertilize the ground to produce some of the best pasture on my property. It also produced some very tasty meat chickens
posted 1 month ago
I actually have been putting chickens on the less dense areas but I was under the impression that buttercups are mildly toxic to animals.
posted 1 month ago
I haven't had any issues with that for chickens. My understanding is the toxicity in buttercups is towards ruminants....my cows and sheep know not to eat it.
Creeping buttercup is only mildly toxic, if at all. Which is good, because our pasture is full of them. Our stock will happily graze them when they're tall and lush but don't bother with ground huggers. They like wet ground and acid soils, and are an indicator of both of these conditions. Getting more organic matter in the soil will fix the former problem, and some lime or wood ash can help with the latter. They're also a pioneer plant on disturbed and bare ground, so improving cover will crowd them out over time.
Lime is meant to help but don't count on it, I have pH8.5 on well drained sandy soil and it takes over here to. Horses won't eat it if they are given any choice which is good as it is not good for them at all so it tends to take over horse pastures, which mine was.
Kelli Boggs wrote:I actually have been putting chickens on the less dense areas but I was under the impression that buttercups are mildly toxic to animals.
I think it might depend on the variety of buttercup, too. On Green Deans', Eat the Weeds site, he mentions that some buttercups are more toxic than others (http://www.eattheweeds.com/buttercups/).
Of the 2,252 species in the family and some 600 buttercups in the genus perhaps a dozen and a half squeak into the edible realm.
My ducks and geese and chickens do eat buttercup...but they don't love it. They'd far prefer dandelion or grass or other weeds. They've eaten all the dandelion plants by my house, but there's still a lot of buttercup. In fact, there's a lot of buttercup most everywhere on my property. Though, not too much inside their yards. Perhaps the calcium they poop out has contributed to making it more alkaline over the years? I've noticed that I have more plantain in my duck yard than anywhere else, and no buttercup now (there used to be a lot), so the calcium/alkalinity might be helping.
When I put my chickens in an area with buttercup, they ate most everything else, and turned up the soil. This made it easier to remove the buttercup that was there...but it very quickly came back!
Maybe Kelli has a species of buttercup that is more tasty to chickens than mine. Or maybe her chickens are a lot less picky!
In all seriousness, I have cleared buttercups from relatively small areas that are being used for vegetable gardening. Key steps:
Leave no hiding places. Even a single small plant is enough for them to recolonise and area. In our case it meant removing all grass areas from between raised beds and leaving earth/woodchip paths.
We tilled the area using a mantis tiller. It doesn’t kill them, but loosens the soil sufficiently that subsequent hand weeding is simple. Follow up with picking over the area once a week to pull out the whole plants by their roots as they resprout.
Once the area is essentially clear it can be maintained by liberal uses of deep mulch to keep the soil loose. Any new plants that emerge can be easily hand pulled in their entirety.
Moderator, Treatment Free Beekeepers group on Facebook.
My mulch sadly grows buttercup like no one's buisness. But, it is MUCH easier to pull out of than pulling it from compacted ground. A three-pronged hand cultivator comes in really handy for clearing them out of beds.
This year I've spent a lot of time in just daily monitoring of my beds to pull out those little runners that the buttercups love to send up and over my garden bed boarders and into my garden bed!