Help us achieve our goals:
make a donation »
Join the RHS today and support our charity
Free personalised gardening advice
RHS members get reduced ticket prices
RHS members get free access to RHS Gardens
Reduced prices on RHS Garden courses and workshops
020 3176 5800
Mon – Fri | 9am – 5pm
Make a donation
I have forgotten my password
Keep me signed in
Register for free to receive our newsletters, add comments to blogs/articles and to save content.
See what events are on near you and browse your bookmarked pages.
Docks weeds (Rumex spp.) are easily recognised with their large leaves and distinctive seedheads. They are a common weeds in garden and difficult to eradicate.
Docks are common, persistent, perennial weeds of agricultural and recently disturbed land and gardens. They are often difficult to eradicate as their deep tap root can regrow from the top section and they produce large amounts of seed.
Broad-leaved dock (Rumex obtusifolius) is a long lived perennial with a basal rosette of long-stalked, smooth ovate-oblong leaves, stems 80cm-1m (32in-3¼ft) high and the distinctive seedheads on spikes that persist into winter. The tap root can be up to 90cm (3ft) in length.
Curled dock (R. crispus) similar to broad-leaved dock but leaves are tapering with a wavy edge and stems 60cm-1m (2-3¼ft).
Docks have a thick, branched tap root that can regrow from the top section if damaged.
Seeds are produced in abundance, germinating readily if left on the surface and are capable of surviving in the soil for up to 50 years. Dock seeds are commonly imported via manure however composted manure, municipal compost and other soil improvers should be free of dock seeds.
Docks are difficult for gardeners to control by cultural methods once established.
Try digging isolated specimens out as only the top few inches of rootstock have powers of regeneration and if 12-15cm (5-6in) can be removed, usually there is no regrowth. Docks are especially vulnerable in spring so digging out at this time should be more effective.
Grassed areas Selective weedkillers in lawns:
Selective weedkillers in rough grassland:
Inclusion of a weedkiller product does not indicate a recommendation or endorsement by the RHS. It is a list of products currently available to the home gardener.
Weedkillers for gardeners (Adobe Acrobat pdf document outlining weedkillers available to gardeners; see sections 1a,b and 4)
Chemicals: using a sprayerChemicals: using safely and effectively Chemicals: using spot and broad-scale Weeds: non-chemical control
Bindweed Brambles and other woody weeds Cow parsleyCouch grass Garden thugs: potential nuisance plants Ground elder Horsetail Japanese knotweedNettlesThistle: creeping
the RHS today and get 12 months for the price of 9
RHS members can get exclusive individual advice from the RHS Gardening Advice team.
Register for the site or sign in to share your experiences on this topic and seek advice from our community of gardeners.
We're a UK charity established to share the best in gardening. We want to enrich everyone's life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.
Join the RHS today and get 12 months for the price of 9