Creeping buttercup is a perennial which has long stolon-like stems. Bulbous buttercup is also a perennial but forms a rosette instead of having runners. Creeping buttercup will often root at nodes along the stems. The leaves are 3 lobed; the middle lobe has a long stalked base. The leaves of bulbous buttercup are more deeply toothed than creeping buttercup. Leaves are dark green and sometimes have light spots. The flowers of both plants are yellow, with 5 shiny petals. The flower of creeping buttercup is larger than bulbous buttercup. Both buttercups reproduce by seed, but only creeping buttercup spreads by runners. Both prefer moist soils and are frequently found in moist meadows, in lawns and along ditchbanks. Both are distributed throughout the northern United States. Related species such as tall buttercup are not found in mowed turf areas.
If creeping buttercup is a problem, improve soil drainage. Physical removal is not recommended as the plant may reestablish from stem fragments. If attempts are made to physically remove plants, care should be taken to assure that all plant fragments are removed. Good turf management practices, including good liming and a nitrogen fertilization program, will encourage a dense stand of turf and make it difficult for creeping buttercup to become established.
To control buttercup, make your herbicide application to plants that are actively growing and in the rosette to flower stage of growth.