Hello, I am Dock

Botanical Name

Rumex crispus, Rumex acetosella, Rumex obtusifolius


As you can see from my names, I cover a range of weeds that are variously known as Dock, Sheep Sorrel, broad leaf Dock and Curly Dock. As the name suggests I am related to sorrel and I am edible. I have a deep taproot, which keeps me well grounded. My leaves are edible, but if you want to eat me, its best to pick my leaves when they’re young. Older leaves can be eaten lightly steamed as a spinach alternative.


As a weed, I am great in taking advantage of the poor condition of your soil. I like to grow in soils that are acidic with a pH below 6.5. And I really love soils that are deficient in phosphorous and calcium, although my broadleaf variety can be telling you that your soils are high in nutrients. I have a really deep tap root, which makes it hard to dig me out of your lawn. This makes Dock, Curly Dock and Sheep’s sorrel a much despised weed, despite the good I am doing for your soil and the good I can do in your diet. I have tiny yellow coloured flowers and set lots of seeds from each flower, which I happily disperse throughout your lawn.


I am a beneficial weed, as I am highly nutritious. I have good levels of vitamin A, C and E as well as protein and iron. And I’m high in anti-oxidants, so I’m good for your health. My deep root may annoy you, but I’m actually working on breaking up the compaction in your soil.


I am best controlled by listening to what I’m telling you about your soil condition! I love growing in soils that are acidic and that are deficient in calcium and phosphorous, Try adding dolomite or lime to increase the pH of the soil and I won’t be so happy. Otherwise try hand weeding. Just make sure you do this after it has rained, otherwise my deep root will be difficult to dig out. Another method is to use a sharp knife and cut my leaves from my root. This allows the roots to keep working on your impacted soil. However, you are better off harvesting my leaves and adding them to your diet. If you pick my leaves often enough you’ll weaken me so I’ll leave you alone

I can also be controlled by using a biodynamic pepper ( see Biodynamic Peppers) However, weed peppers work best when combined with a weed tea. Weed teas take the nutrients I have accumulated in my leaves and feed them back to the soil.

If you must spray, use an organic weed killer comprised of vinegar, salt and soap. Other ways of controlling me include using organic herbicides like Slasher and Iron Sulphate which is good for broadleaf weeds. I can also be boiled alive by pouring boiling water on my leaves.