WSU Extension


Weeds : Dock (Curly, Broadleaf) : Rumex spp.
(revision date: 4/7/2021)

Family: Polygonaceae
Cycle: Perennial
Plant Type: Broadleaf

Use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for successful weed management.

Curly dock (Rumex crispus), also called sour dock or yellow dock, is a robust tap-rooted perennial growing two to five feet tall. Stems are erect, reddish, and slightly ridged. The elongated, basal leaves grow from 4 to 12 inches long and have wavy margins and lack hairs. Small flowers emerge in dense, green, spike-like, terminal clusters. Entire plants may turn reddish-brown at maturity. Individual seeds are enclosed in a papery-to-corky winged structure that facilitates spreading by wind or water. Broadleaf or bitter dock (Rumex obtusifolius) is distinguished by its broader leaves and presence of one to three spines on the fruit's winged structure.
Dock species are native to Eurasia. They are particularly common in wet meadows, along ditch banks, and in waste areas.

Management Options

Non-Chemical Management
  • Hand-pull to eliminate weeds.
  • Careful digging is useful to manage weed populations. However, digging can carry undesirable weed seed to the surface and foster further germination.
Select non-chemical management options as your first choice!

Chemical Management

Apply according to label instructions. Use glyphosate products for spot treatments only! Not a problem in healthy established turf. NOTE: Some ingredients listed here are only available in combination. Read the label carefully on combination products to make sure the product is suitable for your specific situation.

Landscape areas
  • glyphosate
  • products containing 2,4-D
Turf areas
  • products containing 2,4-D
Bare ground areas
  • glyphosate
  • products containing 2,4-D
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Caption: Broadleaf dock
Photo by: T. W. Miller
Caption: Broadleaf dock seedhead
Photo by: T.W. Miller
Caption: Curly dock at maturity
Photo by: D.G. Swan
Caption: Broadleaf dock leaves
Photo by: T.W. Miller
Caption: Broadleaf dock stem
Photo by: T.W. Miller