Botanical name – Ranunculus acris

Family – Ranunculaceae

Aliases – Tall Buttercup, Meadow Buttercup, Upright Meadow Crowfoot, Giant Buttercup

Crowfoot general information

Crowfoot - Meadow Buttercup

Crowfoot or meadow buttercup is not as common as creeping and bulbous buttercup in managed turf

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 distinguished 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.

Crowfoot Lawn and Turf Weed

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 meter in height, hence the alternative name tall buttercup. As it has no runners, it spreads by seed only.

Crowfoot identification

Crowfoot Leaves

The leaves are more deeply cut than other weeds in the buttercup family

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.

Crowfoot Flowers

The golden yellow flowers of crowfoot are typical of all buttercups

The bright yellow flowers are typical of most plants in the buttercup family. They are cup shaped and bourne on branched stems, measuring between 15 – 20mm across. They mainly produce 5 petals and the flowering period is between May and September.

Crowfoot Roots

Crowfoot has a thick, fibrous root system

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 stubborn 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)
  • Headland Cabadex (Fluroxypyr, Flurosulam)
  • 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-professional 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)