Botanical name: Ranunculus acris
Aliases: Tall Buttercup, Meadow Buttercup, Upright Meadow Crowfoot, Giant Buttercup
Crowfoot also known as meadow buttercup and tall buttercup is a widespread and common herbaceous perennial weed.
It is commonly found in grassy areas such as in pastures, meadows, roadside verges and gardens. Occasionally it can be found in managed turf, but is not as common as creeping and bulbous buttercup in this situation.
It can easily be recognised from other buttercups, as the flowers stalks are not furrowed and the receptacle (thick part of the stem where the flower organs develop) is not hairy on crowfoot. Although it will grow in a variety of conditions, it really thrives in damp, calcareous (high pH) soils.
Crowfoot has a thick, fibrous root system and can grow up to 1 metre in height, hence the alternative name tall buttercup. As it has no runners, it spreads by seed only.
- Leaves: The leaves are what gives this plant its name, as they resemble a crow’s foot. However the leaves differ according to their position on the plant. The lower leaves are comprised of wide-spreading deeply cut lobes, the upper leaves are somewhat smaller, composed of few very narrow segments.
- Flowers: The bright yellow flowers are typical of most plants in the buttercup family. They are cup shaped and borne on branched stems and measure between 15 – 20mm across. They mainly produce 5 petals and the flowering period is between May and September.
- Roots: Crowfoot has a fibrous root system (see image below).
Crowfoot Images (Click image to enlarge)
Prevention and control of Crowfoot
Encourage a healthy sward with good turf care practice to prevent weeds from encroaching into the turf.
As crowfoot grows as individual plants it can easily be hand weeded. Hand weeding is best carried out when the soil is a little damp, as the roots are easier to remove.
A selective weed killer may be used to control crowfoot, however, in most cases this weed can be spot treated, as we want to try and keep chemical use down to a minimum.
Like bulbous buttercup, it is a little more stubburn to remove than creeping buttercup. However choosing the right product should prove to be effective, but a follow up treatment may be needed about 6 weeks after the initial treatment. Luckily this weed is not often a nuisance in managed turf, it is generally confined to neglected turf and grassy areas.
Recommended weed killers for the control of crowfoot in turf
Professional products (The user requires the appropriate certificate/s to apply these products)
Headland Relay Turf (Mecoprop-p, Dicamba, MCPA)
React Ultra (Mecoprop-p, Dicamba, MCPA)
Everris Praxys (Clopyralid, Fluroxypyr, Fluosulam)
Bayer Longbow (Mecoprop-p, Dicamba, MCPA)
Barclay Holster XL (2,4-D, Fluroxypyr, Dicamba)
Mascot Greenor (Clopyralid, Fluroxypyr, MCPA)
Mascot Junction (2,4-D, Flurosulam)
Mascot Crossbar (2,4-D, Flurosulam, Dicamba)
Vitax Esteem (2,4-D, Clopyralid, MCPA)
Products available for non-professioanl use (These products are available from garden centres and DIY stores.)
Verdone extra (Clopyralid, Fluroxypyr, MCPA)
Resolva lawn weed killer (2,4-D, Mecoprop-p, MCPA, Dicamba)
Doff lawn spot weeder (2,4-D, Mecoprop-p, Dichlorprop-p)
Vitax Lawn Clear (2,4-D, Clopyralid, MCPA)
Vitax Green up weed & feed (Dicamba, MCPA)
Weedol lawn weed killer (Clopyralid, Fluroxypyr, MCPA)
Scotts lawn builder weed & feed (2,4-D, Dicamba)