Curly Dock

Curly Dock

Other Names: Rumex crispus, curled dock, yellow dock

Type: Flowering plant

Appearance: Curly dock produces a flower stalk about 3’ high. It has smooth leaves shooting off from a large basal rosette and distinctive waved or curled edges. Flowers and seeds are produced in clusters. Leaves are shiny and brown.

Risk: Rumex crispus likes wet areas, so it is likely to show up on soggy, overwatered yards. It is often found in agricultural land and other disturbed areas.

Timing: Curly dock flowers are visible nearly year round. You’ll start to notice new plants in the spring.

Concerns: You might be able to eat the baby leaves of curly dock, but the entire plant is toxic to horses. Be sure to prevent and treat any curly dock outbreaks in your pasture.

How to Control Curly Dock


A healthy lawn can better fend off a curly dock invasion. You can keep your yard in tip-top fighting shape with these tips:

  • Water Well: Your grass needs adequate water to thrive. It prefers long soakings about two to three times weekly instead of daily watering, depending on the rain levels from the week.
  • Reseed patchy spots: Grass roots go deep into the ground and take up a lot of space, taking away the valuable real estate weeds need to thrive.
  • Aerate Your Soil: Soil compaction keeps air and water from reaching the deeper levels of soil where grass roots grow, so only plants that grow nearer to the surface, like weeds, can thrive.
  • Check Your Lawn’s pH Level: If your soil’s pH level isn’t neutral (about 7.0), your grass doesn’t have the right environment to thrive, but weeds might. To balance the pH level, your soil may also need applications of lime.

Regularly mowing can help prevent the spread of curly dock because it won’t reach the flowering stage where seeds are formed. If you have a small infestation, you can simply cut the flower stalk as soon as it appears.


A single stock can produce 40,000 seeds, so unless you want a yard covered in curly dock, treatment will be necessary. And get going soon because the seeds can remain in the ground for several decades.

If it is early spring, you can simply dig the plant up—as long as you are okay with the big hole you’ll need to make (about a foot from each direction!). This is because you need to avoid cutting the taproot, which would just allow more to grow.

Herbicides can be used to control curly dock when necessary. As always, refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for proper herbicide use.

Shades of Green Lawn & Landscape knows just what your lawn needs. We used science-based practices to ensure your yard is as healthy as can be and can fend off dollar spot troubles. Our lawn care packages offer all-around care for your yard. Call us today at 765-771-9998 for a free quote and more information.

Need Help with Curly Dock?

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