Docks are exceedingly difficult to identify accurately in the vegetative (non-flowering) stage. Most species, including the commonly found curled dock, grow to around 1 m in height.
Docks are long-lived perennials and develop a deep taproot. They usually germinate in autumn and develop into rosettes through the winter. A flowering stem emerges in spring and the seed matures through summer. The stems usually die back during autumn and the plants over-winter as rosettes. The stems of the plant are relatively thick and hollow, usually hairless and somewhat fleshy in nature. The leaves of the plant vary in size depending on their position on the stem however they are usually arrow or heart shaped. The rosette (crown leaves at the base) are typically 20 – 25 cm long with a rounded tip and base, while further up the stem they reduce in size to become much shorter and narrower.
The flowers grow in clusters at the tip of the stem and are made up of three small petals each, growing on stalks typically around 5-6mm long, while the fruit is a small three-sided nut surrounded by three papery segments.
The most effective means of controlling docks is to prevent infestations from establishing in the first place, as they are usually spread via human activities and machinery.
Small infestations can be removed physically from the soil, it is recommended to remove at least 20cm below the base of the plant.
Extensive infestations can be reduced in density using Starane™ Advanced Herbicide as a foliar spray used at 3mL/1L of water.
Herbicides for control of Docks
# Note: Preferred product option in bold. * Consult label for details of growth stage and use, especially where range of rates is given.