Equestrian, Agricultural & Amenity Contractors

Paddock Maintenance Specialists

Banish Your Buttercups

by Mark Smith - 16th July 2013

We have been receiving a large number of enquiries over recent months regarding how to remove buttercup from horse paddocks.

The majority of buttercups are now in full flower and at their most irritating stage for horses when they can cause a rash on the muzzle. This can be exacerbated to a contact dermatitis with the addition of moisture.

To remove buttercup we use an application of selective herbicide typically applied from early Spring into early Summer, targeting a growth stage before the buttercups are yet to bud up or flower. This provides the highest level of control of these problem weeds, as efficacy is very dependent on the gro
wth stage of the plant at the time of application.
Unfortunately most buttercups have now flowered which means that the efficacy of such products is reduced. To increase the control opportunity as well as maintaining grazing for longer, we recommend either topping or topping and collecting the buttercup prior to spraying.

If you have a large volume of grass, just topping and leaving the clippings to mulch and decompose is the most cost effective measure. If grass is reasonably sparse or you need to continue grazing we can top and collect as shown in the picture below.

2 to 3 weeks after topping when clippings have decomposed and vegetation has recovered we would spray with a selective herbicide to kill buttercup and a variety of other weeds, if present. Nettles, thistles, docks and ragwort can be removed by the same chemicals and product choice is governed by your specific situation.

The exclusion period for grazing animals for these products is 2 weeks after application and until noxious weeds have completely died back, as stated by the manufacturer. If there is a particularly prolific crop of Buttercups or little grass, you may wish to be on the more cautious side, in which case we would recommend extending this up to 4 weeks from application.

Areas from half an acre up to 50 acres can all be dealt with effectively using our compact and versatile machinery and fully trained, qualified and insured operators.

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