What weed is this? My lawn has tons of them all over. How do I get rid of it?

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  • Hint: it’s always a good idea to give the community an idea of location. – Stephie Jun 10 '18 at 19:57
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    Sorry, in Massachusetts – J Dilly Jun 10 '18 at 22:17
  • Is it a vine, and if so, is it climbing any trees, fences, or buildings? – Jurp Jun 11 '18 at 3:30
  • It is not a vine, its in my lawn. Please ignore the underlying red thread/pink patch in my lawn :-| – J Dilly Jun 26 '18 at 16:00

It is a weed. I think it is a sort of Potentilla, a very difficult genus to determine, often with stolons. I do not know American flora, so maybe it could be an other Rosaceae (member of Rose family). Leaves do not seems to be of Ranunculaceae (family of Ranunculus), but Ranunculaceae is a so diverse family, with flowers and leaves of all kinds.

But on Rosaceae there are many plants with similar leaves (Geum, Fragaria [Strawberries], etc.), so without flower and more details on stolons, leaves, stalk, etc. it is very difficult to give a definitive answer.


Take a look at Potentilla reptans (creeping cinquefoil). It's a non-native but has been found in Massachusetts. See https://gobotany.newenglandwild.org/species/potentilla/reptans/.


My 2 cents is on Virginia Creeper, a common weed on the ground and in trees and anything else it can climb. I have a very rustic yard so I only cut big ones from trees and house and occasionally pull them from the ground ( East TX rainforrest). I have read that birds like the seeds. A young one can look like poison ivy which is one reason I don't pull them all.


It's not familiar for me, what kind of plant it is. But I have the following steps in removing such plants from my lawn.

first answer these:

  1. Is it happening in a single spot or has it spread over the whole place or even in your neighbor's lawn too?
  2. Is the plant trying to get tall and develop big leaves or is it staying short and spreading itself on the ground?

These type of plants suddenly taking over can be the result of wind spreading their seeds or it is simply a fast growing one that can start reproducing in a few weeks.

first find the weakness

If it's a plant that relies on big leaves (like yours here) mowing deep plus less watering will destroy the leaves and destroy the plant over time. Just do it several times, never letting the plant to grow any leaf and in a month it will be gone then replace any damaged grass if needed. Remember that grass is a tough plant and will survive this easily.

But if it's not that dependent on the leaves and is spreading on the ground instead of getting tall with no big leaves, you have no option of removing the grass and plant together and start fresh. (luckily it's not the option here). You need to be careful not to spread any seed or part of the unwanted weed during the process.

then destroy the cause

You need to find and destroy nearby fully grown ones that are spreading seeds. If It's happening for the neighbors too you need to talk to them to mow regularly and not let the weed to get to the reproduction phase.

  • Thanks. It's not in the neighbors yard. Its in an area of my yard that abuts up next to the neighbors yard. Also, it seems to be in a specific area. Starts out less in the sprint and seems to spread into the summer. Then the following spring it starts small again and does the same thing. I Mow my lawn at 3.5" in the summer and really only go down to 3" in early spring for my first few mows. Maybe I should mow lower in just this area and also hit it with a 3-way weed killer? I would say its all within an area of about 500-750 sq ft – J Dilly Jun 27 '18 at 19:13

This looks like Raununculus repens, the creeping buttercup. I live in the UK and we have a different variety than the US.

If it is, they have rhyzomes which enabled them to regenerate constantly.

To control, you need to dig as much of the plant without breaking it. Any breakage will sprout a new plant. This weed loves wet damp compacted ground so airing the lawn with a fork will help drainage.

I live in the UK so can’t advise you on chemical control.

Creeping buttercup

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    No, the leaves of Ranunculus repens are just cut. – Giacomo Catenazzi Jun 11 '18 at 9:39
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    absolutely no chance.. – J. Chomel Jun 12 '18 at 6:53

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