Latin: Rumex spp.

Other names: Curled dock, broadleaf dock, sorrel

Family: Polygonaceae

Docks are common weeds found in the United Kingdom that belong to the buckwheat family (Polygonaceae). There are several species of docks, including curled dock (Rumex crispus) and broadleaf dock (Rumex obtusifolius). Docks can be identified by their large, broad leaves and clusters of small green or reddish flowers.

Docks are perennial plants that typically grow upright, reaching heights of up to 1 meter or more. They are commonly found in agricultural fields, gardens, waste areas, and disturbed soils.

Identifying Docks

Docks possess several distinct features that help distinguish them from other similar-looking plants. The leaves of docks are large, broad, and usually have wavy or curled edges. They often have long, reddish petioles. The stems are erect and branched, with a reddish or green color.

The flowers of docks are small and inconspicuous, arranged in dense clusters known as inflorescences. They can be green or reddish in color. The flowers bloom from spring to summer, depending on the species and environmental conditions.

The Challenges of Docks

One plant can produce 60,000 seeds that are viable for up to 80 years.
Open swards as a result of poaching, over-grazing or winter kill provide space for infestations to start. Docks thrive in fertile pasture but only provide 65% of the feed value of grass from the same area.
Docks are best controlled at the rosette stage when leaves are healthy and not under stress.

Docks can be problematic weeds in agricultural fields, gardens, and grasslands. Their deep taproots and extensive root systems make them difficult to control. Docks can compete with crops, grasses, and desired plants for resources such as nutrients, water, and sunlight. They can also reduce the quality and yield of forage crops.

One of the challenges with docks is their ability to produce abundant seeds that can remain viable in the soil for several years. These seeds can germinate and establish new infestations, leading to ongoing weed management efforts.

Managing Docks

docks in first cut silage

Managing docks involves a Integrated Pest Management, a combination of cultural, mechanical, and chemical methods. In agricultural settings, crop rotation, timely cultivation, and the use of pre-emergence or post-emergence herbicides can help control docks. Proper timing of herbicide applications is crucial for effective control.

Regular mowing and maintaining a healthy grass can also help suppress dock growth in lawns and grasslands.

Nufarm agronomy solution:

THRUST 2.5L/ha + fluroxypyr 1.0L/ha

Contact our team

West UK BDU / Grassland Manager

Brent Gibbon

Business Development Manager West
West UK

Mob: 07760 124889
[email protected]

Following an extensive career in Crop Protection, I moved to Nufarm in Spring 2018 because it was very obvious that this company was on a steep upward trajectory.
I am based in the West as Agronomy Manager and I am keen to develop and support Nufarm’s great range of Grassland and Arable products.

Ireland BDU

Martin Fitzpatrick

Agronomy Manager

Mob: +353 86 3060413
[email protected]

Having worked in various technical roles in the agricultural industry from managing R&D trials to farm advisory work, I have a broad range of agricultural knowledge and experience. I very much look forward to applying my expertise to develop and support the Nufarm business in Ireland as well as offering practical solutions to Nufarm customers. I am also excited to join Nufarm at a time of expanding product portfolios and investment for the future.