Buttercups: Pretty But Potentially Poisonous

A common occurrence in many horse pastures, buttercups may be pretty, but they aren’t the best option for equine ingestion. A variety of types of buttercups are found in the United States, but each is poisonous to some degree while fresh (dried buttercups have no toxicity). However, the plants also have a bitter taste, so horses tend to avoid eating the plant if possible, reports Horse & Hound.

Horses that are on a restricted grazing or who are on overgrazed pastures may eat the buttercups if there is nothing else to graze on. If enough buttercups are eaten, toxicity can result. Horses that have buttercup toxicity may have diarrhea, excessive salivation or colic.  The toxin in buttercups may also irritate sensitive skin on the lower limbs or muzzle.

Controlling buttercups depends on the type of buttercup in the fields and the timing of herbicide application. The number of applications of herbicide will depend on the species. Buttercups can also be dug out of the ground, but this tends to be most effective on small patches an on creeping buttercups.

Herbicide can be applied as soon as plant growth comes on in the spring, before flowers appear. The weeds must be dry, with no rain in the forecast for at least 12 hours to allow the herbicide time to penetrate the plant. Herbicide applied once the plant blooms will be ineffective.

If additional herbicide applications are needed, September is generally a good time to spray. All horses must be removed from the fields where the herbicide is being applied and must stay off the fields for at least two weeks, says Horse & Hound. Once the buttercups have been removed, preventing overgrazing will help keep them at bay.

Read more at Horse & Hound.

The post Buttercups: Pretty But Potentially Poisonous appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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