Curled Dock

Common Name

  • Curled dock

Latin Name

  • Rumex crispus

Habitat & Distribution

  • Curled dock can be found throughout the UK, it is a native species commonly found on waste grounds, farmland, hedgerows, road side verges, woodlands and gardens.

What’s the problem?

  • Curled dock can quickly spread creating dense stands which outcompete other species.
  • Each plant can produce up to 4000 seeds a year. Seeds can survive for up to 70 years in the soil making complete eradication difficult.
  • Deep taproots enable the plant to establish and thrive in a range of environments, fragments of taproots are able to produce new plants if disturbed.
  • Curled dock is an injurious weed species and is listed under the Weeds Act 1959.

What are the legal implications?

  • The Weeds Act 1959 aims to prevent the spread of listed species onto private land (Ragwort, Broad-leaved dock, Curled dock, Creeping thistle, and Spear thistle).
  • The Act allows for powers of enforcement requiring land occupiers to take action to control infestations to prevent the spread of Injurious Weeds onto neighbouring land.
  • Failure to comply with enforcements can result in penalties and convictions.

In detail

  • Curled dock spreads via seeds which are dispersed by wind, water, animals and machinery and has the potential to spread large distances.
  • The plants have deep taproots which can grow to depths of 1.5m. Buds on pieces of broken taproot can create new plants spreading infestations.
  • Curled dock can hybridise with Broad-leaved Dock, another injurious weed species.


  • Curled dock is a tall perennial species which typically grows to 1m in height.
  • It forms distinctive smooth leaves with a waved or curled appearance from the large basal rosette.
  • Flower spikes appear from June to October and have numerous tightly packed clusters of reddish-brown flowers, these spikes die down once seed is produced.
  • Seeds lack the toothed wing structure that Broad-leaved Dock have, and are oval / triangular in shape.

Control methods

  • Chemical Control

Curled dock can be successfully treated with herbicide, applications are most effective whilst the plant is actively growing between April and October. Established infestations will required treatment over a number of years.

If you have concerns over Curled dock on your land, if you are unsure of your legal responsibilities, or, if you would like a quotation for control, please contact one of our specialist surveyors. Treatment costs start from £380.00 + VAT.