Emergence and Growth of Tall Buttercup Seedlings Along a Soil Moisture Gradient

By H. Strevey and J. Mangold

Researchers conducted a greenhouse study to investigate the influence of soil moisture on emergence and growth of tall buttercup (Ranuculus acris, L.), a non-native invasive perennial forb that invades moist pastures, grasslands, and irrigated meadows. Tall buttercup seeds were planted into pots where soil moisture was maintained at 25%, 50% or 100% field capacity and allowed to grow for about two months. At the end of two months, tall buttercup seedling emergence, height, number of leaves, and biomass were measured. Tall buttercup emergence and growth was optimal in field capacities of 50% to 100%. Results suggest altering irrigation amount or timing should be considered as a management tool to reduce or eliminate tall buttercup infestations.