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Curly Dock (Rumex crispus L.)

Crop Impacts: Agricultural lands, disturbed areas and pastures

Curly Dock 1

About Curly Dock:

The Curly Dock is a perennial broadleafed weed that is spread by the movement of seeds and can be found across North America. This plant tends to pop up where there is over watering or standing waters in a low area. When large amounts are consumed by livestock, it can be damaging to their health.

Family: Buckwheat or Smartweed Family (Polygonaceae)

Curly Dock 2

Curly Dock Scouting and Prevention:

When looking for Curly Dock, keep your eye out for a decently straight, thick stem that stands at about 1m or taller and has a yellowish colour to it. Curly Dock looks just what it sounds like; the leaves are narrow and curl along the edges, they are about 15 to 30cm long and get shorter and smaller as they grow closer to the top of the plant. This plant also produces flowers that are mostly green with a potential hint of red and turn brown when they are fully matured. These flowers are located at the top of the stem on a long slim, branching cluster. The length of the flower is about 4 mm long with 3 green sepals on the outer whorl and 3 red sepals on the inner whorl. This weed flowers from June to July.

Common Location’s

  • - Over watered or moist fields
  • - Agricultural lands
  • - Pastures
  • - Disturbed areas


If you are interested in handling Curly Dock in a culturally controlled and preventative manner, you must plant the seedbed properly, use the right fertilizers, and plant at optimal time for growth. In fields or grassy areas that are already established, it will be helpful to cover seed with forage species to minimize blank area. Rotation grazing of livestock will have little disruption and prevent over grazing.

Cultural Controls

Mowing and hand removal are semi-disruptive ways to remove Curly Dock. Continual mowing helps keep the weed under wraps and reduces its competitive ability and the carbohydrates in the roots, making them unable to produce seeds. As for hand removal, it would be one of the easiest ways to get rid of the weed. If you decided to go this route, make sure that you remove the seedhead from the ground before the weed can germinate. Once the plant is removed, be sure to properly dispose of it by burning or moving it to a location far from you.

Chemical control

For a more aggressive approach to getting rid of the Curly Dock, use a systemic herbicide that is applied when the plant is in-between budding and blooming, which typically happens in early fall.

Latin / Alternative Curly Dock names:

  • - Rumex crispus L.
  • - Patience crépue
  • - Narrow-leaved dock
  • - Sour dock
  • - Yellow dock
  • - Patience
  • - Rumex crépu

Additional Curly Dock Resources