curly dock left, burdock right

Dock, curly (left) and burdock (right), (Rumex crispus). Photo: Betty Marose

Updated: April 16, 2021

Life cycle 

Perennial emerges from large yellowish taproot; also grows from seed.

Growth habit 

Basal rosettes of 6-12 in. long leaves.

immature dock
Immature dock foliage


Flowering stalks (right) grow up to 3 ft. tall and green, turning rusty brown, persisting through winter; seeds remain viable in soil up to 80 years; can produce from 100 - 60,000 seeds per plant.

dock in flower
Dock in flower

Conditions that favor growth

Nutrient rich, heavy damp soils; adapts to dry, poor soils.

Management in lawns

Cultural lawn care practices

Maintain healthy, dense turf that can compete and prevent weed establishment.

Mechanical management

Hand pulling or using an appropriate weeding tool are the primary means of mechanical weed control in lawns. This is a viable option at the beginning of an infestation and on young weeds. Hand pulling when the soil is moist makes the task easier. Weeds with tap roots like dandelions or have a basal rosette (leaves clustered close to the ground) like plantain are easier to pull than weeds such as Bermudagrass (wiregrass) or creeping Charlie (ground ivy) that spread with stolons or creeping stems that root along the ground.

Chemical treatment in lawns

*Do not spray herbicides containing dicamba over the root zone of trees and shrubs. Roots can absorb the product possibly causing plant damage. Refer to the product label for precautions.