It is that time of year again. In the next couple of weeks, that familiar golden blanket will engulf many pastures across Macon County. Although it may be beautiful from a distance or to the untrained eye, to the farmer this plant is public enemy number one in the spring. Buttercup has been the angst of livestock producers for many years. The plant itself is toxic to livestock, and it consumes valuable nutrients and space in our pastures.
Buttercup is a winter annual. Seed germination begins in the fall, usually late October or early November and the plants really begin to grow when warmer weather arrives. April is generally when buttercup will bloom here in Macon County.
Proper timing is essential to controlling buttercup and time is running out for 2019. If you wait until the plants bloom, you can guarantee that you will have an infestation the following year. Buttercup can be controlled with products containing 2,4-D herbicide. This product can be applied in late fall after germination when the plants are small, and if not applied in the fall, it should be applied prior to blooming in the spring. The key for applying 2,4-D in late fall and early spring is to have at least three consecutive days of temperatures above 55 degrees. Products containing 2,4-D will also control other broadleaf plant species.
Always read the label and follow label instructions when applying pesticides. If you need assistance with label directions or choosing the proper herbicide please don’t hesitate to call the office for help.